Thursday, 31 January 2013

H.M.S. Bounty

This is worth a mention.

I'm sure you will all remember the great Hollywood Blockbuster.

"Mutiny on the Bounty".

Built in 1784 in England at Hull and named Bethia, fitted out in Deptford and renamed Bounty, in keeping with the task she was charged to perform.
She was believed to have been destroyed by fire in 1790, off the Pitcairn islands whilst under the control of Fletcher Christian and his motley crew of mutineers.
A short career for a ship of the line.

The Bounty was a small ship, 189 feet long with a 25 foot beam, after fitting out she was a floating green house with sails, her task was to bring back living bread-fruit plants and replant them in the plantations as a stable diet for the slaves, the idea may have been good but it never worked on this occasion. 
To save room the Bounty never carried any marines on board, who are normally used on navy ships to keep order, (also just a wee point) Mr Bligh was only given the rank of senior Lieutenant in charge of the ship, not Captain! which would have carried more weight with the crew, in regards to discipline. 
I believe this was mistake by the Admiralty and played a part in the mutiny. 

The Bounty sailed out of England bound for Tahiti,trying to round the horn of Africa and after a month of trying in the Antarctic weather they were driven back.
Bligh turned around and went eastwards around the Cape of Good Hope arriving in Tahiti the 26 of October 1788.
This was truly an epic journey for a sailing ship of this size demonstrating the skill and seamanship of Bligh.

It took 6 months to load the ship with bread fruit and keep it alive ready for sailing, the crew spent most of their spare time with locals especially the ladies and had developed strong feelings and attachments with them, they didn't really want to leave and after departure half the crew decided to mutiny 3 weeks into their return journey, they were led by First Officer Fletcher Christian, after serving on a couple of ships together Bligh considered Christian his friend, it would have been a unthinkable betrayal for Bligh.

Bligh and his loyal crew were set adrift with rations and water and a sextant in a 23 foot open boat, their chances of survival being very poor. 
But Bligh showed himself to be an able and outstanding seaman and navigator and catching fish to eat they sailed 3618 miles to the Dutch West Indies an outstanding feat
of seamanship, not to be repeated again for a long while.
At his court martial held to inquire over the loss of the bounty he was exonerated and he was given a promotion to Post-Captain.
Records show that he was in fact not a harsh officer towards the men, as many Captains were in them day's. 
So lets put it down to Hollywood Hype!

Bligh was a Cornish man who's mother died when he was very young.
Being educated to a high standard by his father, who held the post of Customs Officer at Plymouth, Bligh joined the navy at 16 years of age, his first ship was the H.M.S. Hunter.
Just imagine what a wonderful exciting life he had, dying at the age of 64 years a full blown Vice Admiral of the Blue in 1817.

This is of course is only a tiny part of his adventure, if you want more let me direct you in the direction of: David.C.Bells book A Nautical Odyssey. 
This book is where I got most of my information for this wee tale and I would recommend it without reservation to anybody.

May the Wind always fill your Sails.



  1. Loved it. Very interesting. Certainly a different side than Hollywood shows.

    1. Thank you Donna as always a pleasure to get a comment from yourself, it creates a warm spark
      within me.

  2. Replies
    1. thank you for you kind words. be well. Agman


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