drunken sailmaker

“By fairly dividing all foods, encouraging everyone to eat widely of a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, short sea voyages and his insistence on a clean ship and crew, 

Cook kept Endeavour’s crew fit and healthy – until they arrived at the port of Batavia on 11 October 1770. Malaria was endemic at Batavia and most of the crew were struck down, including the Captain. The exception was the sailmaker John Ravenhill, aged 70, and drunk most of the time. The first to die was the surgeon John Monkhouse, followed by Tupaia and his servant Tuahea. Repairing the damage done by the Barrier Reef took weeks and it was late December before Cook signed on 19 extra seamen and set sail for the Cape of Good Hope.”

(But Cook’s battle with disease was far from over. Once at sea the Endeavour was struck by “the bloody flux” – dysentery. Twenty-three men died on the 11-week voyage to the Cape, including the astronomer Charles Green, the artist Sydney Parkinson, two marines and the one-handed cook, John Thompson.)