Maritime Monday for November 5th, 2012: HMS Bounty, Loss and Lore

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November 4, 2012


HMS Bounty (image via the Bounty Facebook page)

@ Press-time Update

New York Times:
Evoking 18th-Century Drama, a Tragedy on the Bounty

Christian Science Monitor:
Coast Guard concludes HMS Bounty captain went down with ship
(November 2, 2012)

LA Times:
HMS Bounty sinking to be investigated; victim was ‘very concerned’

Rex Halbeisen, a friend of Christian, said he received an email from her before she died at sea saying she was worried about the storm and the condition of the ship.

“She was very concerned for their safety and was ‘praying to God that going to sea was the right decision,’ ” Halbeisen told the Los Angeles Times.

“You know me, I am not a mechanical person but the generators and engines on this ship are not the most reliable,” Christian said, according to email text provided by Halbeisen.

Kansas City Star:
Former HMS Bounty captain remembers tall ship sunk by Sandy

He sailed the HMS Bounty to New York City — a trip with its own sort of mutiny — and on voyages through the Great Lakes, the Panama Canal, and to Seattle, Nova Scotia and a movie set.

As someone with a deep connection with the ship — he was its captain from 1986 to 1990 — Hilton Head Island resident John Rumsey was shocked to hear she’d sunk…

keep reading

HMS Bounty tribute-turned-memorial
honors lost Capt. Walbridge

Musings on the HMS Bounty

ROCKLAND — I am a freelance journalist who was recently blessed with the opportunity to sail aboard the HMS Bounty.  I’d interviewed Captain Robin Walbridge on my radio show and was so impressed with his comments about the ship and especially about her crew that I had to ask if there was room for media aboard.

My adventure with the Bounty lasted 10 days as we sailed from Gloucester, Mass. to Eastport, Maine on Labor Day. It was nothing short of incredible for many reasons…

keep reading

HMS Bounty: Superstorm Sandy shipwreck
survivors take vow of silence

In case you missed it:
(video) Interview with Captain Walbridge of the Bounty

gCaptain Forums thread:
HMS Bounty and Hurricane Sandy

gCaptain HMS Bounty coverage

WoodenBoat Forums thread:
HMS Bounty and Hurricane Sandy

Replica Bounty (1960 ship) official site

Bounty (1960 ship)
on wikipedia


U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski

One of the world’s most famous ships, the HMS Bounty is a victim of Hurricane Sandy

According to a picture posted from the ship October 25:

“Bounty has departed New London CT…Next Port of Call…St. Petersburg, Florida. Bounty will be sailing due East out to sea before heading South to avoid the brunt of Hurricane Sandy.”

Business Insider



“October 28: Riding out the storm, Day 3…”
Bounty Facebook page


a survivor being pulled into the helicopter

The Bounty‘s last reported position was 33°54′N 73°50′W


Washington Post:
A crewman of the replica tall ship HMS Bounty
is aided by the U.S. Coast Guard after being rescued

By about 3 a.m., the Bounty’s once-optimistic Facebook page, which on Sunday had posted “So far so good!” in its daily updates, had issued a new message for its followers: “Your Prayers are needed.”

Ninety minutes later, the Bounty finally lost its battle with 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas. Its captain ordered all hands to abandon the sinking ship


Reuters: a crewman from the replica tall ship HMS Bounty
being aided in the water by a member of the U.S. Coast Guard

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer approaches on of two lifeboats where the crew of HMS Bounty sought shelter after abandoning ship. Screenshot from U.S. Coast Guard video

Coast Guard Compass / Official Blog of the USCG:
Coast Guard rescues 14 during Hurricane Sandy

The owner of the 180-foot, three-mast tall ship HMS Bounty, a replica of the original British transport vessel built for the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando, contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina after losing communication with the crew late Sunday evening. The 5th Coast Guard District command center in Portsmouth, Va., subsequently received a signal from the emergency distress position indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, registered to the Bounty confirming the distress and position…


US Coast Guard helicopters were used to pluck the crew members from life rafts.
Photograph: Reuters; appearing on The Guardian

The ship was on its way from New London, Connecticut, to St Petersburg, Florida, said Tracie Simonin, director of the HMS Bounty Organization LLC. She said she was unsure how the captain attempted to navigate the storm.


Reuters; Daily Mail

HMS Bounty, Pirates of the Caribbean Tall Ship, Sunk:

Almost precisely at 9 last night the ship’s emergency position radio beacon activated, Hill said.

At 11 p.m. the Bounty’s people posted on Facebook that its generators had failed and that “they are taking on more water than they would like.”

At 4:30 a.m. the crew abandoned ship, according to the Bounty statement.

At 6:30 a.m. today the first Coast Guard helicopter was on-scene and rescued 14 people found in two 25-foot life rafts with canopies, Hill said. The rescued were wearing life jackets and cold-water “survival suits,” he said.


Claudene Christian

Descendant of Fletcher Christian
goes down on the
HMS Bounty

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…

keep reading

LA Weekly Blogs:
Claudene Christian: HMS Bounty Crew Member
Was USC Grad, South Bay Local


October 25: “US Navy / HMS Bounty Crew in today’s sail!”

New London was the last stop for the ship before the disaster. According to the Bounty’s Facebook page, the 180-foot tall ship arrived in New London on Oct. 23. The crew met with members of the USS Mississippi, a Virginia-class submarine assigned to Sub Base New London in Groton, and embarked on a day sail with them. The Bounty departed New London on Oct. 25, Walbridge’s birthday, to sail for St. Petersburg, Fla.

Port Jefferson Patch

U.S. Navy sailors from the submarine USS Mississippi test the wheel earlier this month during a sail aboard the square rigged sailing ship HMS Bounty


Savannah Morning News:
Savannah student safe after Bounty crew
rescued in Hurricane Sandy; 2 missing

imageAnna Sprague, a 20-year-old Savannah college student, struggled to get into her cold-water survival suit.

“It did a lurch and everyone was tossed into the water,” her mother, Savannah Alderwoman Mary Ellen Sprague said. “She swam for a raft and got aboard.”

“She’s not hurt, but she’s very, very upset,” said her mother, who described her “as almost catatonic. She could hardly speak she was so upset.”

Anna Sprague had been sailing aboard the Bounty since May, when the vessel joined more than a dozen others in port here for the Tall Ships Challenge. She was touring the vessel when she saw a sign posted that the Bounty needed crew.

Sprague, a student at Armstrong Atlantic State University, is a skilled sailor. She postponed classes and traveled with the ship along the East Coast.

inset: Anna Sprague on HMS Bounty tall ship. (Ken Green)

Wicked Local Provincetown:
Jessica Hewitt, 25: Harwich woman rescued from HMS Bounty

HMS Bounty crewmember from Chicago area rescued:

Drew Salapatek, 29, was one of 14 HMS Bounty crewmembers plucked from the Atlantic as the tall ship sank.

ABC News:
Woman Dies After Hurricane Sandy Ship Rescue

imageCoast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert said 42-year-old Claudene Christian was unresponsive when she was pulled from the water Monday evening and was later pronounced dead at Albemarle Hospital in Elizabeth City, N.C., early Tuesday morning, according to The Associated Press.

“The last time I spoke to her, she told me, ‘If I go down with the ship, remember how happy I was,”’ Christian’s mother, who is also named Claudene, told ABC News Monday night.

full story and video


Captain Robin Walbridge
(Image: Facebook)
via TheBlaze

Wikipedia: Raised in Montpelier, Vermont, Walbridge later moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. He was a field mechanic on houseboats who worked his way up to obtaining a 1600 ton license in 1995, when he began working as a crew member of the Bounty replica. Walbridge went missing from the helm while trying to save the the replica sailing ship when the ship sank

According to the Facebook page, this was the last communication from Capt. Robin Walbridge on Sunday:

Good evening Miss Tracie

I think we are going to be into this for several days, the weater looks like even after the eye goes by it will linger for a couple of days. We are just going to keep trying to go fast and squeese by the storm and land as fast as we can. I am thinking that we will pass each other sometime Sunday night or Monday morning. All else is well.

Christian Science Monitor:

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill said Wednesday morning that a cutter searched for Robin Walbridge overnight and two C-130 planes would join the search during the day Wednesday.

Capt. Walbridge was believed to be in a survival suit, and while the seas were still about 15-feet Tuesday, water temperatures were a tolerable 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius).

“There’s a lot of factors that go into survivability. Right now we’re going to continue to search. Right now we’re hopeful,” Coast Guard Capt. Joe Kelly said Tuesday. (video)

One commenter on the Bounty’s Facebook page had this to say:

“Looking at the timeline posted on this page, I can not understand the abject stupidity of this decision. She should have remained in port…any port. It is criminal negligence.”


Google Maps / HMS Bounty Facebook

Christian Science Monitor:
HMS Bounty: the inside story of its final days (+video)

The Back-Story


full resolution ‎(2,272 × 1,704 pixels)

Breadfruit: Bizarre and Inedible New Miracle Foodimage

The breadfruit’s proponents say it has unique qualities that could help feed the world’s poor. One tree, a member of the fig family, can produce 450 pounds of fruit per season.

The fruit packs 121 calories in a half-cup serving and is rich in fiber, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, copper and other nutrients. Its texture and yeasty odor remind some people of fresh bread.

see also


The Bounty arrives in Tahiti

Sir Joseph Banks and others saw the value of breadfruit as a highly productive food in 1769, when stationed in Tahiti as part of the Endeavour expedition commanded by Captain James Cook.

The late-18th-century quest for cheap, high-energy food sources for British slaves prompted colonial administrators and plantation owners to call for the introduction of this plant to the Caribbean. As President of The Royal Society, Banks provided a cash bounty and gold medal for success in this endeavor, and successfully lobbied his friends in government and the Admiralty for a British Naval expedition.

imageIn 1787, William Bligh was appointed Captain of the HMS Bounty, and was instructed to proceed to the South Pacific for this task. The Bounty remained in Tahiti for five idyllic months, during which over 1000 plants were collected, potted and transferred to the ship.

Well, as we all know, things didn’t go exactly according to plan…

In 1791, Bligh commanded a second expedition with the Providence and the Assistant, which collected live breadfruit plants in Tahiti and transported these to St Helena, in the Atlantic, and St Vincent and Jamaica in the West Indies. Although Bligh won the Royal Society medal for his efforts, the introduction was not entirely successful because the slaves refused to eat it.

Breadfruit on wikipedia

Complete Official Bounty Logbook

Captain Bligh: A Man Misunderstood and the
Epic High Seas Drama on HMS Bounty


The Ship

Launched August 27, 1960 – Bounty (popularly HMS Bounty) was an enlarged reconstruction of the original 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. Built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in 1960

Bounty was commissioned by the MGM film studio for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. She was the first large vessel built from scratch for a film using historical sources, and was built to the original ship’s drawings from files in the British Admiralty archives.

To assist film-making and carry production staff, her waterline length was increased from the original 86 to 120 feet. Rigging and beam were scaled up to match.

The ship was scheduled to be burned at the end of the film, but actor Marlon Brando protested, so MGM kept the vessel in service. After filming and a worldwide promotional tour, the ship was berthed in St. Petersburg, Florida as a permanent tourist attraction.

Bounty’s owners have tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the vessel since 2010. As of 2012, the ship had been for sale for US$4.6 million.

keep reading


Engraving by Robert Dodd, 1790

Sir John Barrow’s 1831 book, The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause and Consequences, ensured the enduring fame of the Bounty and her people.

The Mutiny of the Bounty is a 1916 Australian-New Zealand silent film directed by Raymond Longford about the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty. It is the first known cinematic dramatisation of this story and is considered a lost film.


Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
on Project Gutenberg

here’s why you should:
Good Books: The Bounty Trilogy

lobby card:
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Clark Gable, Charles Laughton
Teegarden/Nash Collection, Digital Stock Images of Movie Memorabilia

The Movies


Actor Charles Laughton as Bligh in the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty.

1001 Movies to See Before You Die
Mutiny on the Bounty (a review)


Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone
Dr. Macro’s High Quality Movie Scans (more)

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

The film was one of the biggest hits of its time but contains several historical inaccuracies. Bligh is depicted as a brutal, sadistic disciplinarian. Particular episodes include a keelhauling and flogging a dead man. Neither of these happened. Keelhauling was used rarely, if at all, and had been abandoned long before Bligh’s time.

imagePrior to the mutiny the Bounty had only two deaths—one seaman died of scurvy (not keelhauling) and the ship’s surgeon died apparently of drink and indolence and not as a result of abuse by Bligh.

Likewise the film shows the mutineers taking over the ship only after killing several loyal crewmen when in fact none died although one crewman came very close to shooting Bligh until stopped by Christian. Lastly Christian is shown being inspired to take over the ship after several crewmen have unjustly been put into irons by Bligh; this is fictional license.

In a capricious  shout-out to historical accuracy, Clark Gable shaved off his famous moustache because the sailors in the Royal Navy in the 18th century had to be clean-shaven.

In the final scene of the film Gable gives a rousing speech to his fellow mutineers speaking of creating a perfect society of free men on Pitcairn away from Bligh and the Navy. The reality was very different. Free from the restraints of Naval discipline the mutineers proved incapable of self-government. Pitcairn degenerated into a place of drunkenness, rape and murder.



Death of Mills” from the Classics Illustrated version of Pitcairn’s Island
Artist: Rudolph Palais (see full size)

purchase: Classics Illustrated Mutiny on the Bounty (1952) comic books


Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
starring Trevor Howard as Bligh
and Marlon Brando as Christian.

The 1962 version is generally considered the least accurate, with such historical errors as Christian and Bligh’s meeting (and subsequently hating) each other at the first sailing of the Bounty, the mutiny’s occurring in the middle of the day sparked by Bligh’s order to let a sailor die of ingested saltwater poisoning rather than be given water set aside for the breadfruits, and Fletcher Christian dying from injuries sustained in the fire aboard Bounty while trying to save the ship.

Mutiny was filmed in the Ultra Panavision 70 widescreen process, the first motion picture so credited. It is notable for its location photography in the South Pacific, and became notorious for the way Marlon Brando effectively took over directing duties himself and caused it to become far behind schedule and over budget.

According to fellow actor Richard Harris, Brando got along badly with several cast members, including Harris himself, whose resentment was fuelled in part by Brando’s refusal (or inability) to memorize his lines. Brando would even reportedly rewrite portions of the script to his liking from day to day, leaving the rest of the cast bewildered.

In order to prepare for the scene of Fletcher Christian’s death at the close of the movie, Brando, already no stranger to method acting, reportedly lay on blocks of ice for several minutes at a time to accurately simulate the tremors of a burn victim. When the scene was filmed, however, Harris refused to act opposite Brando, and performed his lines facing a log.

Brando later married Tarita Teriipia, who played Maimiti in the film. When the movie finally premiered in the U.S., it opened to mostly negative reviews. The 1962 movie did not win any Oscars, despite having been nominated for seven.

The working replica of Bounty later appeared at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) at the Internet Movie Database



Marlon Brando


The Bounty movie poster
available on MovieGoods (more)

The Bounty (1984)

imageBritish adventure drama / historical film directed by Roger Donaldson, starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, and based on the book Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian (1972) by Richard Hough.

Bligh is not shown as a cruel tyrant, but instead is seen as a traditional British naval captain and a man of his times. The crew is portrayed in a different light than the previous films. They are shown as a group of typical 18th-century sailors—a much more “rough and tumble” group. Their motivations in this film were not as noble as in the other two films.

Previous films portrayed the crew’s desire for freedom from Bligh’s oppressive behavior; in this version of the story the desire to return to Tahiti is shown to be one of the primary motivations behind the mutiny. Blissfully happy at their new-found freedom (though Christian feels remorse, and understands the implications of what’s been done) they naively sail back to Tahiti to collect their wives, girlfriends, and native friends.

File:PitcairnsIsland.jpgKing Tynah, however, is shocked by this turn of events. He makes them aware that, as mutineers, their presence on the island could incite King George to declare war against Tahiti and his people.

The search for a safe haven is long and seemingly impossible, as they all realise that any pursuing Royal Navy vessels will search all known islands and coastlines to find them.

By this point, those that remained on board the Bounty are so frustrated that they are ready to rebel against Christian in order to turn the ship back towards Tahiti. After Christian forces the crew to continue on, they eventually find Pitcairn Island.

inset: Pitcairn’s Island (novel)


An early drawing of Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Island
History of Pitcairn Island on Pitcairn Islands Study Center


Ship from Pirates of the Caribbean destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

Some 400,000 feet of lumber were used, 10,000 square yards of canvas were sewn by hand and 10 miles of rope were rigged before it was ready for the silver screen.


It has since become one of Hollywood’s most famous ships and was used in filming for the 1989 film Treasure Island with Charlton Heston and also appeared in two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, both starring Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley. +


The comic strip “On the Bounty” re-enacts the mutiny with each new installment, each time focusing on a different theme or subject.


Belfast Lough 2009


Happier times in Greenock, Scotland
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Bounty Facebook:

A Relief fund has been set up by both HMS Bounty Organization AND a couple of our former beloved crew members. We are working with the former crew members as well as initiating another way of donating to help raise as much money as possible for our 14 surviving crew as well as the families of Claudene Christian AND Captain Robin Walbridge.

Please find it in your hearts to help out. You can donate via paypal at [email protected] or by going to our website and clicking on the online store where you will see a button to donate via paypal.



Movie title stills collection

Adventures of the Blackgang on tumblr — (twitter)

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