Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sad, Indeed.

The picture above is of the replica of the Bounty built in Lunenburg , Nova Scotia in 1960 for the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty. The ship had been used as a traveling tourist attraction and had worked as a film ship in other movies including Pirates of the Caribbean.  This past weekend, the captain made the decision to try to take the ship out of port in New London, Connecticut and head out to sea to avoid the effects of Hurricane Sandy as they made their way to an event that was scheduled to be in Florida.

On their way, there were updates posted on their Facebook page about the conditions and the ship itself.  Progressive failures of equipment and leaks gave an ominous hint of the ship's fate.  At the last contact the ship's owner had with the captain at about 4:00 AM, he reported that they were taking on water and were preparing to abandon ship.  The crew got into survival gear and started boarding the life rafts.  As the captain and two crew members were about to board the life rafts, they were washed overboard by a wave.  One of the crew members managed to make it to a raft.

The US Coast Guard sent an aircraft to locate the ship by it's EPIRB.  Helicopters were then dispatched to that location and 14 of the crew of 16 were rescued.  Helicopters then proceeded to search for the remaining two crew members - the captain and a mate.

The mate, Claudene Christian - a descendant of Fletcher Christian; the original Bounty's mate - was found unresponsive in the water and later declared dead at the hospital.  The picture below is of her and the ship

Captain Robin Walbridge is still missing and presumed dead, although the Coast Guard continued their search for him on Tuesday.

This was a truly tragic day out on the water.  Investigations will take place to find out the cause of the loss, but I'll not second-guess the decisions made by captain and crew of the Bounty. I'm sure more facts and details will come out as time goes on and the crew talks to the media.

This last picture was taken by a Coast Guard crewman on the rescue helicopter as the Bounty was sinking.  Sad ending.

 A friend who is a sailor posted the following today in memory of those lost.  It seemed like an appropriate ending to this post.

Flaunt out O Sea, your separate flags of nations!
Flaunt out, visible as ever, the various ship-signals!
But do you reserve especially for yourself, and for the soul of man, one flag above all the rest,
A spiritual woven Signal, for all nations, emblem of man elate above death,
Token of all brave captains, and all intrepid sailors and mates,
And all that went down doing their duty;
Reminiscent of them’twined from all intrepid captains, young or old;
A pennant universal, subtly waving, all time, o’er all brave sailors,
All seas, all ships.

Walt Whitman

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