For Bounty Victim, It Was About “Making Her Ancestor Proud”

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 102
October 30, 2012

File photo of the Bounty docked at St. Augustine, Florida.

As the search continues off the coast of Hatteras, N.C. for the missing captain of the sunken Bounty, the reality of the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy begins to sink in. So far, the storm has claimed a number of lives–ABC last reported 33–up and down the Eastern Seaboard and in the appropriately named Atlantic Graveyard with the Bounty and an even more “perfect storm”.

Claudene Christian. Photo: Facebook

Yesterday, we were all saddened to hear that US Coast Guard crews recovered the body of Claudene Christian, 42, a crew member on the Bounty and 1 of 16 people on board when the ship went down. Tragic by any means, but a quick look at her Facebook profile reveals something even more devastating. She was a USC grad who was excited to work on the HMS Bounty and eager to share its rich history with people, especially children. But there was a greater connection. She was also great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate who took command of the original HMS Bounty from William Bligh in the infamous mutiny in 1789.

“I live, work & Travel the Sea aboard the HMS Tall Ship Bounty” She says on her Facebook page. “A Sailing Museum traveling from port to port sharing our ship and our history, we are a replica Ship of the infamous story of “Mutiny on the Bounty” on Pitcairn Island.”

She then continues:

As a descendant of Fletcher Christian, played in four movies by Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlin Brando & Mel Gibson, I’m sure my ancestor would be proud… However this time, there will be no Mutiny on this Bounty… At least not at the hands of me, a new generation of Christian Family Sailors! This ship has been used in MANY Movies, including the 1962 version of “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlin Brando & the two most recent Pirates of the Carribean movies starring Johnny Depp.

The Bounty, a detailed replica of the Royal Navy’s tall ship HMS Bounty and itself often referred to as HMS Bounty, was built in 1962 specifically for the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty. After filming, the ship was berthed in St. Petersburg, Florida and used to teach tourists about its maritime history. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s the Bounty would change ownership a few times–including another brief stint in the movie business with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies–before ending up in the hands of the HMS Bounty Organization, LLC, where Christian would eventually be hired on as part of the crew.

“I have a marketing background, so I wasn’t sure if they’d take me because I didn’t have a sailing background, although I’ve been totally interested in it all my life,” said Christian in an interview during a recent tall ship festival in Nova Scotia and obtained  by Canada’s Chronicle Herald. “I just decided I was going to apply for who I am, and they took me, and what I want to do is increase attendance and get the numbers up. I think there’s so much opportunity here for Bounty because no one’s really doing anything like that. They’re not marketing yet to schoolchildren as much as I’d like to do.”

The Chronicle Herald interview went on to quote Christian: “The cool thing about this ship, besides the fact that it was made about a historic, landmark monumental event in time that changed maritime laws (about how) captains are better to their crew, (is) this ship has its own history now, and has been in so many movies and travelled the world.”

The Bounty left New London, Connecticut, heading for St. Petersburg, Florida but would of course never make it.

Meanwhile the search for Captain Robin Walbridge from St. Petersburg, FL, continues.

Full Interview with Claudene Christian:



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