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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bounty Obituary

A beautifully written description of a tall ship's end

From the New York Times,

By Dan Barry

A fateful meeting of the maritime past and present began amid the Monday morning dread of Hurricane Sandy, when distressing word came from the murk of the roiling Atlantic: the captain and crew of the H.M.S. Bounty, a vessel of timber rigged to evoke 18th-century adventure, were abandoning ship ...

On Friday, the Coast Guard announced a formal investigation into this terrible adventure at sea, one filled with a dime novel’s blend of heroism and tragedy. Fourteen of the 15 crew members were rescued. The body of the 15th — a woman who claimed relation to the original Bounty’s leading mutineer, Fletcher Christian — was recovered. And on Thursday night, the Coast Guard reluctantly suspended its search for the longtime captain, Robin Walbridge, 63, who was said to consider the Bounty an extension of himself.    

So ... why did this famous replica go out to sea, in a doomed attempt to avoid the teeth of a major storm?  Who were the heroes who went to the rescue, and what huge challenge did they face?  Is there anything to be learned from this tragedy?

Read the story


Shayne Parkinson said...

Such a sad ending for this beautiful ship.

We were watching Persuasion (the excellent 1995 adaptation) last night, and caught a glimpse of Bounty in the final scene.

World of the Written Word said...

Actually, you're in luck -- as the Bounty featured was the one that was built for the Mel Gibson movie "The Bounty," and which is still afloat, albeit in Hong Kong, of all places. (What it is doing there, I have not a notion.) The 1995 Persuasion had such a meagre budget that they cut scenes from the Bounty film and pasted them in.

That said, the loss of the Brando replica was a real tragedy. So sad to see such a lovingly maintained tall ship go down, and in such awful circumstances.

Shayne Parkinson said...

Oh, that's good to know. I knew there were two, but foolishly assumed they'd used the older of the ships. Yes, the low budget does show in the sea scenes (flat backdrops and all).

And yes, a real tragedy.

World of the Written Word said...

Not foolish at all! The Brando one having dominated the news, it is the first thought in anyone's head.

And when I talk about the replica ships on my cruise gig, I have to think and double check with myself before identifying what is on the screen.

I think I'll blog about the Gibson Bounty -- I looked up the story of how it got to Hong Kong and what the ship is up to now, and it's a great yarn.