The Mutinous Voyage of William Bligh and the Bounty's Launch

An 1841 depiction of the mutiny, which shows violence which was not part of the event. Wikimedia

2. The mutineers let Bligh retain some navigational instruments

Samuel managed to bring aboard a quadrant, and Christian provided Bligh with a sextant, but ordered no timekeeper be provided, nor any charts. Bligh had a small compass. Navigation in the vast Pacific was based on his memory of the islands and currents, acquired through his several voyages with Captain Cook. The mutineers veered the launch to trail Bounty, while they debated over the fate of the Captain and the men with him. During the argument men loyal to Bligh, denied the opportunity to join him in the boat, continued to hand down supplies to their fellows, which included four cutlasses.

At length, the launch was cast off and Bounty bore away to the west. In Bligh’s mind, all the men who remained in Bounty were mutineers and pirates, though he later exonerated a few of the men, forced by the mutineers to remain aboard. Taking stock of the situation and the supplies on hand, Bligh decided to row to the island of Tofua (also called Tafoa, and Tufoa) roughly 35 miles distant, where he hoped to obtain additional water and other supplies before sailing into the so-called Friendly Islands and the island of Tongatabu, which he had visited with Cook. There was no debate among the crew, which rowed in silence across the calm Pacific.

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