Following a mutiny aboard the British navy ship Bounty in 1789, Capt. Bligh was famously cast away in a 23-foot longboat with 18 crewmembers. He successfully navigated his way from Tonga to West Timor in 48 days, equipped with only 150 pounds of ship biscuits, 16 pounds of pork, six quarts of rum, six bottles of wine and 28 gallons of water. The crew had no charts, no compasses and no lights. Amazingly, everyone survived.
On April 28, four adventurers from around the world will mark the 221st anniversary of Bligh’s navigational feat by attempting to reenact the journey. They will sail for 48 days with 25 days of rations in a 25-foot longboat, the Talisker Bounty. Like Bligh, the crew will use no modern navigational tools – only an 18th century sextant and octant. They will be constantly exposed to the elements and at risk of capsizing in any storms they may encounter.
Though the journey sounds absurd by today's standards, Australian Don McIntyre said he was drawn to what he saw as the ultimate adventure. "It is a challenge that is incredibly raw, honest and open. It's just a few blokes in a boat with a bit of food and water," said McIntyre.
Joining him on board are Antarctic sailor David Bryce from Australia, Hong Kong businessman David Wilkinson and 18-year-old British sailor Christopher Wilde.
Though the expedition has been in the making for four years, the crew was only finalized last month after two of the original team had to drop out. Solo circumnavigator Mike Perham was forced to withdraw due to health concerns. Another crew left when he discovered the training itself was too much to handle. The men are hoping to be in peak physical condition when they set sail, so that they will be better able to live off of minimal rations and endure the elements on the way to their final destination.
The Talisker Bounty crew will begin their voyage in Tonga and head west to Fiji, Vanuatu and Restoration Island. They will then turn toward Australia's Great Barrier Reef and through the Torres Strait to West Timor, in Indonesia. Though the crew is required by international rules to have electronics on board, they will not actively use them for navigational purposes.