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TideWriters Tales
“Mister Christian!”
By Richard Moylan Jr.

     “Mister Christian! I told you to clear the deck in ten minutes! You did it in eight.”

     The above comment was probably the first famous movie line I remembered as a child. When Captain William Bligh said those words to Fletcher Christian it changed my young life. I began to pay attention. Of course I am talking about the movie Mutiny on the Bounty. 

     In 1787 William Bligh was actually a Lieutenant when he was commissioned to sail to Tahiti to collect breadfruit. His ship, The HMS Bounty formally the Bethia a coal carrying ship. So you can imagine my amazement when I crossed the Coleman Bridge and right there in the York River sat the HMS Bounty. I thought I was looking at a ghost ship.

     According to the story the mutineers burned the Bounty in what is now called Bounty Bay. As I investigated the eerie vessel I found not a ghost ship but a movie prop. A beautiful, majestic, weathered replica of the original Bounty. 

     In 1960 MGM had the ship built for the movie starring Marlon Brando. The replica was built as authentic as possible using  plans of the original Bounty which still exist today. Shipwrights of Smith and Ruhland in Lunenburg Nova Scotia. built the Bounty. They made it a point to build her from scratch as it would have been back then. They also built her to be completely sea worthy.

     After the movie MGM berthed the Bounty as a tourist attraction where she stayed until the 80s. Ted Turner acquired the vessel in 1986 and in 89 used the ship in another famous movie, Treasure Island staring Charleston Heston. Ted Turner donated the ship to the Fall River Chamber Foundation in 1993 where it was used as an educational venture.

     In 2001 the Bounty was purchased by the Tall Ship Bounty Organization LLC. The organizations cause is to keep the Bounty sailing  and teaching the nearly lost art of square rigged sailing. What a ship! 

Photos by Richard Moylan, Jr.

© 2005 Richard Moylan Jr. All Rights Reserved 

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