The HMS Bounty was a small merchant vessel purchased by the Royal Navy in the late 1700’s for a botanical mission. It was sent to the Pacific Ocean to gather breadfruit and transport it to the British territories in the West Indies. The mission was never completed when disagreements abounded between Lieutenant William Bligh and his acting Sailing Master Fletcher Christian, thus leading to the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty on April 28, 1789.
A replica of the ship was made for the 1962 film adaptation of Mutiny on the Bounty. Since then, she’s been owned mostly by non-profit organizations who have toured her all over the world for entertainment and educational purposes. Volunteer crews manned her decks for long voyages. On October 21st the HMS Bounty departed from Boothbay Harbor, ME where it had undergone a month of repairs and refurbishing. Stopping off in New London, CT on October, 25th the ship then continued south towards St. Petersburg, FL.
The crew took the ship’s course due East in hopes of avoiding the treacherous grasp of hurricane Sandy. On Sunday the crew believed that their path had indeed saved them from the hurricane. Unfortunately, the HMS Bounty remained on the tail end of Sandy as it shook up the East Coast. The Coast Guard was called upon Sunday evening but were not able to dive into the ocean to save crew members until daylight. On Monday, October 29th Sandy took her down into the depths of the ocean off the coast of North Carolina – taking with it the lives of two of its 16 crew members. The ship had been beaten by 18-foot crashing waves and 40-miles-per-hour winds.
Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and to all the families affected by hurricane Sandy. To support, you can donate funds to the Red Cross’ Disaster Relief efforts here.