Bounty expedition nears Australia

By AG staff and AAP 28 May 2010
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An expedition recreating the route of the infamous mutiny on the Bounty is about to hit Australian waters.

A CREW RECREATING CAPTAIN William Bligh’s epic voyage after the mutiny on the HMS Bounty will enter Australian waters in the next few days.

The four-man crew, led by Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, were ‘cast adrift’ in Tongan waters on April 28 – a day later than Bligh’s original voyage 221 years earlier after strong headwinds stalled their start. Don, who had been planning the mission for four years, is joined by only one other experienced sailor, his countryman David Bryce.

Seven-week voyage

Hong Kong businessman David Wilkinson and 18-year-old Briton Christopher Wilde are also among the crew for the journey from Tonga to Timor, expected to take about seven weeks. “We’re really looking forward to [getting into Australian waters] cause when we get to Restoration Island we get a really big feed,” Don said from the Talisker Bounty, a 7.6 m open wooden boat.

With the Talisker Bounty was about 900 km from the Australian coast on Thursday afternoon, the voyage will take longer than Bligh’s 48-day mission, Don says. “We still can’t catch Bligh. He’s three days ahead of us already and I don’t think we’re going to catch him.”

He and his crew are living on meagre provisions during the mission, taking only what Bligh had on board when he and 18 loyal sailors were cast adrift in the South Pacific.

Horrible habit

In an effort to stay true to the original voyage, neither do they have modern equipment such as charts, a compass, lights or toilet paper. “We’ve now realised how bad toilet paper is,” Don says. “It seems like a horrible habit…Putting your bum over the side and using salt water to wash it is very clean and fresh and I think we’ll all not like using toilet paper when we get home.”

From Tonga the 6437 km voyage headed west to Fiji and Vanuatu. After passing Restoration Island off Cape York they will sail north, inside the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, then through Torres Strait to West Timor. They aim to raise funds for research into motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more about the expedition on Don’s web site:

Video below gives an overview of the expedition (Credit: Tasker Bounty Boat Expedition)