HMS Bounty
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HMS Bounty

HMS Bounty

HMS Bounty
 
We are sailing in the very waters where Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers seized control of Her Majesty’s Ship Bounty commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh. 
 
Set adrift with the non-mutinous crew, Bligh managed the most improbable, most remarkable, and most incredible small boat voyage in history. He sailed the Bounty’s pinnace, an open boat of some 26 feet length overall with 19 souls aboard more than 3300 nautical miles to Timor, the nearest friendly European controlled port.
 
When Bligh had been forced into the launch together with eighteen loyalists, the freeboard remaining was less than the length of a man’s hand. The boat was designed for a maximum of fifteen men and for short distances, not for nineteen men with belongings and supplies and destined to sail close to four thousand miles.
 
Given no navigational instruments, no food, and no water he was given no chance of survival. It was the cruelest death sentence imaginable and, at least to the mutineers, every bit as final as walking the proverbial plank. 
 
They underestimated their Captain. 
 
Look closely at the horizon in the picture. What you will discover is a glimpse of the island paradise Aitutaki. It is a stunningly beautiful coral atoll. In fact, it is one of the many that make up the Cook Islands. Cast adrift between Aitutaki and Tahiti to the East, Bligh sailed through here. Seeking food and water on one of these atolls, perhaps even this atoll, he was attacked by the inhabitants and forced back onto his boat and to sea. Defenseless, he barely escaped with his life. One of his men did not. Paradise it may have been, but Bligh resolved not to set foot on any other islands lest he lose any more lives or the boat itself. 
 
Bligh outlived all the mutineers. They mutinied amongst themselves until there was no one left to murder. Discovered on Pitcairn Island some 18 years after the Bounty mutiny, only the Tahitian wives, the children, and male remained alive. The fate of the rest, the original mutineers including Fletcher Christian, a mystery. 
 
Sailing past this place at dusk, I can feel the pull of paradise. It must have been a thousand-fold stronger for Bligh and his charges. What would they have given to be on Seaburban, my palace compared to their pinnace. They would have seen the same sunsets, the same palms, the same verdant mountains promising water. 
 
History has a way of humbling if you let it. First Shackleton footsteps in Port Stanley and now this. The two greatest, unfathomable small boat voyages of all time. And me between. Nothing remotely close, or even comparable in any way, shape, or form to be certain. But at least I can say I came by way of the sea to look.

Follow my tracks in real-time:
https://bit.ly/svseaburban

 

16 Comments
  • BT
    Posted at 10:41h, 02 July Reply

    Bert, you are amazing! Following you progress and posts with great admiration for you courage and wishing / willing you success. You are on the downhill run now. All the best from an Aussie follower BT ( 2 degrees of separation from your Uncle Joe).

  • Sandi Lyon
    Posted at 03:20h, 06 July Reply

    That looks about right. When it’s hot out in the ocean, its foggy and wet on the Wet Coast. That means you’re on the right track, heading the right direction. Finally. Woohoo.

  • Anita Kuntz
    Posted at 00:10h, 08 July Reply

    Following you journey and am truly amazed.

  • Suzan Persons
    Posted at 15:43h, 09 July Reply

    What an amazing journey!!

  • Karin Hill
    Posted at 15:27h, 13 July Reply

    Been following you for a couple of months now. What an amazing journey! Your blog is insightful and humorous. Almost home. Safe travels!

  • MountainJack
    Posted at 19:52h, 14 July Reply

    Has to be an amazing feeling to be so near home, Bert.

    Have spent months at sea “steaming”, not sailing, gaining my sea legs with the constant motion just became second nature. Getting back to a stable platform at dockside or over on the beach left me wobbly for a day or two. Cannot imagine how you’ll feel after a year of hardly ever being stable. There is that other thing having been on your own for that long; the familiarity of constant aloneness , the feeling of approach avoidance, being forced back into humanity. Might feel as though you could just extend a little bit more and savor the experience just a little longer…naw, probably not.

    Welcome back home, Bert. You’ve completed one heck of a feat.

  • Arthur Oliver
    Posted at 04:33h, 15 July Reply

    Getting oh so close. What’s the ETA?

  • estelle C whiddon
    Posted at 02:58h, 16 July Reply

    Bert, your homecoming Saturday will be a joyous occasion! I have followed the voyage daily and hope your arrival home brings much joy.

  • Peter Jungschaffer
    Posted at 07:19h, 18 July Reply

    This has been so great. Thank you!!!

  • BT
    Posted at 09:50h, 18 July Reply

    Hi Bert, you are just a few hours away from home. We are cheering for your most successful journey. We are especially amazed at the sailing conditions below Australia and New Zealand, as we can have some very big polar blasts hit us at this time of the year. Cannot imagine what it was like to sail through that type of weather. Can only take of hats off to you I amazement. Hope that you make it to Oz for a visit. What a wonderful achievement you have accomplished. /bt

  • Antonio Corbelletta
    Posted at 16:15h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations! What an adventure! Well done. I have enjoyed tracking your voyage everyday just wish I would have know about it earlier, from the beginning.

  • Suzan
    Posted at 18:13h, 18 July Reply

    Yeahhhhhhhhh Bert!!! You have done it!!!
    Happy Homecoming – And stay safe!!!
    It isn’t the same world that you left!!
    I’m going to miss reading your travels and your adventures!! But thrilled that you’re home (almost) safe and sound!!
    Next trip around the world, hope that you’ll stop along the way and post your photos of the locals and the ports!!

  • Raegan Elford
    Posted at 19:23h, 18 July Reply

    Soldier who has logged more sea time than this Navy sailor.
    What an incredible accomplishment (the journey vice logging more sea time than I)
    BZ

  • Marianne Scott
    Posted at 18:25h, 19 July Reply

    Congratulations on your accomplishment! I guess we will have to put up a plaque commemorating your voyage on the Victoria Harbour wall.

    Hope to see you this week.

    Marianne Scott

  • Tom Cory
    Posted at 07:40h, 23 July Reply

    Congradulations Bert from Annapolis MD. A Great Adventure.

  • Mark
    Posted at 12:24h, 29 July Reply

    I don’t think that anyone that attended Estevan Junior High could have imagined that this was in the future for one of it’s students. I checked in at different legs of the journey and was fascinated every time. Congrats!

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