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Eric Shackle Writes: Bligh Of The Bounty Voyage Re-enactment

Australian adventurer Don McIntyre's and his crew will be setting sail next week to re-enact Captain William Bligh's historic 3,700-mile voyage in an open boat, sailing from Tahiti all the way to Timor, journalist Eric Shackle reports.

Will global warming affect Australian adventurer Don McIntyre's bid to
re-enact Captain William Bligh's historic 3,700-mile voyage in an open
boat,sailing from Tahiti all the way to Timor? The water will be warmer,
and perhaps climate change will lead to perilous storms and huge waves.

McIntyre plans to set sail on April 28, in a replica of Bligh's
25-foot-long, 5-foot-wide. boat built by Tongan craftsmen, following the
journey across the Pacific from Ha'apai in the Kingdom of Tonga to Timor.

He will begin his trip on the same day, at the same time and in the same
place 221 years after Bligh's epic original mutiny journey.

McIntyre has had to make last-minute changes to his crew, because a key
member of his fellow adventurers dropped out at the last minute. He has
been replaced by a London university student with no sailing experience
but with a burning ambition to join the expedition.

A few days ago, McIntyrere said "This trip has been a long time in the
making. Flying into the Kingdom of Tonga and looking at the blue ocean, I
realised it is really all happening now. We were then given the friendliest
welcome that you could ever imagine. We knew certainly that we are
among friends when we got here."

McIntyre then joked that "a couple of weeks ago I had my own mutiny and
lost two of my crew", referring to the fact that two of the Talisker crew
members pulled out last week citing medical reasons. Mike Perham, who
holds the record as the world's Youngest Solo Circumnavigator, pulled out
after having his appendix removed. Perham was replaced last week by 18
year old Christopher Wilde, of Warwick in the UK, who has no boating or
sailing experience at all but simply blind passion.

It was in April 1789 that the famous 'Mutiny on the Bounty' occurred just
off the waters of the islands of Ha'apai in the Kingdom of Tonga. The story
goes that, whilst in the Pacific, the Bounty crew were attracted to the
idyllic life and were angered by the (alleged) cruelty of their commanding
officer William Bligh. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian and some of
his followers and they tried to get Bligh to sail the Bounty back to Tahiti
because they terribly missed their Tahitian mistresses. Bligh did not agree
with the mutineers and he insisted they continue sailing to Australia.
McIntyre added here that "someone stole the Captain's coconuts and that
cause the Mutiny".

Fletcher Christian and his followers then cast commanding officer William
Bligh and Bligh's loyal crew adrift in a boat near Tofua Island in Ha'apai
in the Kingdom of Tonga. Whilst Fletcher and the mutineers sailed to
Pitcairn Island and settled there, Bligh and his men sailed for 48 days and
over an epic 4000 nautical miles from Ha'apai in the Kingdom of Tonga to
Kupang in Timor in an overloaded boat (traditionally used to lift an anchor)
with little food or water and no charts.

McIntyre and the Talisker Bounty Boat crew face the same deprivations as
the original crew that were cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific. Using
their replica 18th century traditional open timber whale boat, they will
relive Bligh's nightmare by attempting to sail the same voyage under
similar conditions with the same amount of food and water. Bligh and his
crew only had 150lb of ships biscuits, 16 two pound pieces of Pork, 6
quarts of Rum, 6 bottles of wine and 28 gallons of water.

The crew told the Tonga Visitors Bureau that they will carry 70g museli
bar, 210g baked beans, 90g ship biscuit, 2 liter water, 100g nuts, 75g
raisins, 170g beef, 90g ship biscuit per person for 25 days only. They hope
to catch fish, gather a supply of fruit, vegetable and coconuts in Tonga
(rather than catch and eat birds) and supplement their 28 gallons of water
with rain water.

A thin Wilde, who is on a mission to eat as much as possible in the next
week in order to bulk up for the mission, is certainly in the right country
for that. Not only are Tongans known for their inimitable sense of
hospitality and musical talent, they are also known for their girth and love
of feasting. McIntyre himself noted he's purposely put on weight but
expects to "loose 16kg by the end of the voyage", adding "we will look
pretty different by the end of it". McIntyre explained that during their
voyage, the crew will monitor their health by "taking blood samples every
week and undergoing psych tests". The latter causing laugher amongst the
crew who will need to deal with emotions like fears and anger and use "
"self awareness and communication to create a stronger team and support
each other throughout the difficult times, of which their certainly will be

Will they survive on of the greatest open boat journeys in Maritime

Their odds are far higher than if they were sufferers of a motor neurone
disease. The Talisker Bounty Boat 2010 Expedition are making their
journey o raise funds for the Sheffield Institute for Motor Neurone Disease.
McIntyre told the Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism) that his crew
plan to set up their a 25ft long, 7ft wide, open wooden vessel at Royal
Sunset Resort (offshore from Tongatapu). They hope to have the boat, and
their satellite blog that will record their positions automatically onto
Google Earth every two hours and replicate Bligh's meticulous Log, up and
running as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Stuart Kershaw, the crews' expedition cameraman, will be
steadfastly working on recording as much about Tonga and its people as
possible for a 4-6 part documentary on the Talisker Bounty Boat

McIntyre expects the first episode to be about when preparations and one
episode to start with his arrival in Tonga and finish as he sails away from
the Island of Tofua, about five days after the Mutiny took place.


To read more of Eric's wide-ranging reports please click on


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