Australian, British adventurers complete Bligh voyage

15th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Four adventurers landed in Indonesia on Tuesday at the end of a harrowing 47-day re-enactment of Lieutenant William Bligh's epic sea voyage from the mutiny on the HMS Bounty.

With no maps or navigational equipment, no torches or toilet paper, and little more than biscuits, water and rum to sustain them, the crew reached their destination just hours after Bligh had done 221 years before.

Australian captain Don McIntyre, 55, Australian Dave Pryce, 39, British student Chris Wilde, 18, and fellow Briton David Wilkinson, 49, were greeted by fishermen and excited children as they pulled ashore at Kupang, West Timor.

They capsized four times and survived close encounters with hidden reefs during their 6,500-kilometre (4,000-mile) journey in a replica 18th-century whaling boat, which began at the site of the mutiny near Tonga.

"The reception has been quite mind-blowing. There was food waiting for us as soon as we stepped off the boat. We were starved of company for three months so this has been great," McIntyre told AFP after making landfall.

"I just had two hamburgers and a whole plate of chips and I think I'm a bit hyperactive. After a month of ships biscuits it was pretty good."

Their vessel, the 25-foot (7.62-metre) Talisker Bounty Boat, carried equivalent supplies of food and drink as Bligh and his loyalists had when they were cast adrift from The Bounty.

A group of mutineers led by Fletcher Christian seized control of The Bounty on April 28, 1789, near the Tongan island of Tofua.

McIntyre and his three crewmen set out on April 29 from the Tongan island of Kelefesia for Tofua -- where one of Bligh's men was killed by a Tongan -- before heading west towards Fiji.

They followed Bligh's route westwards, passing Fiji and the Vanuatu Island groups heading for Cape York on the northeastern tip of Australia.

Like Bligh, they landed on Restoration Island, then sailed north inside the treacherous Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, and then into the Torres Strait and on to Timor.

The Talisker Bounty Boat was equipped with satellite navigational equipment in case of emergency only, but McIntyre said it was not needed.

© 2010 AFP

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