Bligh's Bounty now in Hong Kong - 01/05/2009
Monday, 14 December 2009 01:30

Deadeyes, blocks and pulleys might be typical remnants of an 18th century shipwreck, but few ever come close to seeing such items in their original context. Recently, however, nine lucky Hong Kong Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) students got to do just that while out on a visit to see the The Bounty in Hong Kong, a full scale replica of the original H.M.A.V. Bounty that was mutineered in 1789.


The Bounty replica, now owned by Hong Kong Resort Company Limited (HKR), was originally purpose-built in 1979 for the Hollywood film The Bounty, respectively starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins as the infamous mutineer Fletcher Christian and Captain William Bligh. It then spent many years in Australia, before it was bought by HKR and sailed over to its current home in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong. Here, it has taken on a new lease on life as a multi-purpose venue, available for both corporate and private charter.


Thanks to the generosity of the HKR (and a little help from Mark Beattie-Edwards at the UK NAS Office), the HK NAS students and their tutor, Bill Jeffery, were allowed on board the 30 metre-long ship for a short, private visit to get a firsthand feel of life aboard an 18th century tall ship. The vessel was of special interest to the students, who had previously learnt about the excavation of the Pandora - the vessel sent to search for and recover the H.M.A.V. Bounty in 1791 - during their NAS I lectures.


Many of the Bounty's original fittings have been replicated in the Bounty replica, from foremast to frametops, right down to the details in the rigging. And while the ship incorporates some modern features - under the outer skin of timber planking it has a hull of steel and diesel engines - the vessel fixtures and equipment provided an atmosphere of the 18th century that gave participants some insights into what and how these fittings and equipment might have been used. It also helped to spur on the ever hopeful group to see what might be found on some of the c.500 shipwrecks that lie in Hong Kong's waters!