Hurricane Sandy was far from a direct hit from us and we were lucky to have escaped most of the destruction; not so for the H.M.S. Bounty.
My thoughts are with the crew members; survivors and those who were lost, and their families.
I have an immense love for tall ships; deep down inside I am a true romantic. I grew up in the deserts and mountains of New Mexico and did not move to the Ocean State until I was 36, so it hasn’t been a very long relationship. The first time I ever saw a tall ship was when a fleet of them came to visit Newport in 2007. Ever since then, I have devoured Patrick O’Brian novels, watched all the Pirates of the Caribbean umpteen times, visited the USS Providence berthed in Newport and built here in Portsmouth. I get this thrill in my chest and I break out in goosebumps whenever I see a tall ship.
This is one of my favorite poems:
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
By John Masefield (1878-1967).
When the Tall Ships came back for a visit this summer, a friend of mine asked me to bring a care package to her brother. He was second mate aboard the H.M.S. Bounty- the one ship I was most excited to see (the square riggers are my favorite)! We met him and many of the crew. He was very kind and offered to give us a personal tour of the ship, but as we could see he was very busy, we declined and just toured her ourselves.
I didn’t hear about her troubles until Monday when my friend posted that she was worried about her brother and the crew- and ever since then I can’t stop thinking about them. My eyes are welling up as I write this. And yes, I am crying for the crew, the horrible ordeal they suffered, and the friends and families of the crew member who perished, and the captain who was lost at sea. But I’m also crying for that beautiful, beautiful ship and I tell myself it’s just a boat. Yes, I am grateful for the survivors and for their heroic rescue by the US Coast Guard! Still, I can’t help but mourn the loss of this ship.
This is how I will remember her: