The Last Sail of the HMS Bounty
We’d like to preface this post by saying that our hearts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Many people are still struggling to recover from the devastation, and we encourage you to donate what you can to the American Red Cross to help those in need.
One particular story that surfaced during Hurricane Sandy holds unique significance for the islands of Tahiti. The HMS Bounty—a replica of the historical ship known for the mutiny that took place in Tahiti in 1789—was caught in the storm and ultimately sank off the coast of North Carolina on Monday, October 29th. Fourteen of the crew members were rescued and brought to safety by the U.S. Coast Guard; however, many are now mourning the loss of the ship’s captain, Robin Walbridge, and deckhand Claudine Christian—as well as the historic vessel herself.
The HMS Bounty was easily one of the most famous ships in the world. This majestic three-masted ship originally made its debut in the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty,” starring the late Marlon Brando. Filmed in Tahiti, the movie was based on the real 1789 mutiny aboard the British vessel, the HMAV Bounty, which was led by Fletcher Christian against the ship’s captain, William Bligh. The beauty of Tahiti is presumably what led the crew to mutiny because they refused to leave such a gorgeous paradise.
Following her debut, the HMS Bounty appeared in many documentaries and other feature films including “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” starring Johnny Depp in 2006. Off screen, the ship was used as a training vessel, sailing the country and offering dockside tours and educational classes for the general public.
A Final Farewell
The HMS Bounty departed from New London, Connecticut on Thursday, October 25th and was headed toward her home in St. Petersburg, Florida when it collided with the storm. Captain Walbridge believed that the iconic ship would be safer at sea than in port, but sadly, no one anticipated that this would be her final journey.
Roy Boutilier, one of the original crew members, can still recall the ship’s first voyage from Lunenburg to Tahiti in 1960, saying, “She was a beautiful, beautiful vessel… and it was just an honor to be able to climb up in that rigging and furl the sails and just be a major part of it. It was a thrill.”
As a tribute to her long legacy, here’s the original trailer for the classic movie in which she was built to be the star, “Mutiny on the Bounty.”