Captain Bligh Knowledge of the Sea


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About Captain Bligh’s famous voyage.
After the mutiny in the South Pacific Ocean aboard the HMS Bounty, Captain Bligh and 18 of his other loyal men were cast adrift in a 23 foot open boat with enough food and water for five days.

They eventually made the longest voyage in maritime history in an open boat (3,618 miles) in 48 days, landing in Timor in June 1789. This historic voyage was wholly due to Captain Bligh’s seamanship. With only starvation rations, a sextant and compass, but no charts, the barest amount of water and no protection from the elements he didn’t lose a man at sea. The only death out of the 19 original castaways was John Norton who was killed by natives on a small Pacific island where the sailors had landed to get water and any supplies they could. Norton was the last man into the boat and therefore was supposed to bring the anchor off the beach. Because of the imminent attack Bligh ordered him to leave the all important anchor, but the loyal Norton brought the anchor to the boat as he was being clubbed and stabbed to death by the angry natives.

“The coast being cleared of the attacking natives, our boats were manned and armed, and all the carpenters with their axes were sent on shore, with directions to destroy every canoe they could find; and we are told this service was effectually performed, and that more than fifty canoes, many of which were sixty feet long, and three broad, and lashed together, were cut to pieces.  This act of severity must have been cruelly felt by these poor people, who, without iron or any kind of tools, but such as stones, shells, teeth, and bones supplied them with, must have spent months and probably years in the construction of one of these extraordinary double boats.” ~Captain William Bligh

An account of this remarkable voyage can be found in the book Men Against the Sea.


Below is the text of Captain Bligh Knowledge of the Sea 1746.


“Knowledge of the sea never
comes amiss to a seaman.”

Captain William Bligh
Late of HMS Bounty
Spoken to his 18 fellow castaways in a twenty three foot Open boat
on a 3,618 mile voyage of survival across
The South Pacific Ocean1746