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HMS Bounty
Bounty comes to St Augustine
On the 25th of April, the Bounty came to St Augustine. Not the original Bounty, of course. That one was burned by the mutineers led by Fletcher Christian after setting Captain Bligh and his faithful crew members ashore on an island in the South Pacific in 1789. This ship was built in 1960 for the filming of the movie Mutiny on the Bounty with Trevor Howard as Captain Blight and Marlon Brando as Christian. It was a grand sight to see, coming into the harbor, although it would have been grander by far had she been able to sail in. But she was going to have to get through the Bridge of Lions so all her sails were furled and her spars lashed at an angle so she would fit through the draw. (In the photo above one small sail was set to help bring her around into the wind and up to the pier after she came through the bridge.)

Did you know that the original HMS Bounty began her career as a collier - hauling coal? She was later purchased by the Royal Navy (Great Britain) and refitted, renamed and sent out as a merchant ship. She was commissioned for an experiment - to bring breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies in hopes of providing food for the slaves there and her grand captain's cabin was converted to a greenhouse in which to nurture the young breadfruit trees during the voyage. Bligh and his crew spent five months in Tahiti collecting over 1000 breadfruit plants before sailing in April, 1789. During the time they were in Tahiti, Christian married a local woman and many of the other crew grew friendly with the natives as well. I spent two years in the South Pacific and it is a delightful place, so I suppose I can understand the crew's reluctance to leave their little paradise and sail once again with a captain known for his harsh punishments for minor infractions. Fletcher Christian, his second in command, was often humiliated before the crew and the local populace, much of the time without cause. I guess that's why they call tyrants Capt. Bligh to this day and small wonder that eventually the crew mutinied. They were harsh times, and had it been me, I'd probably have been right there by Christian's side, eager to spend the rest of my life on a tropical island rather than continue on serving a master such as Bligh.
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida

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