Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Touring the H.M.S. Bounty, R.I.P.
I often wish I could leave Charlie at home with another adult in order to get the most out of the event at hand with manageable and appreciative Christopher. But I don't have another adult at home, and I can't afford to hire a babysitter on top of the event's admission price time and time again. Oh, and my house is not presentable enough for a babysitter anyway. Charlie has to come along, and Christopher and I have to deal with whatever Charlie dishes out . . . in public . . . again.
As we stepped on the ship, we passed a man dressed up as Jack Sparrow, the quirky pirate captain from the "Pirates" movies played by Johnny Depp. It was the end of the day on Saturday, September 1, and only a handful of deck hands were on board. The ship was in beautiful condition. Countless ropes, a gorgeous wheel, a handsome wood-paneled control room, economical living quarters. The schooner was smaller than I expected, and I was disappointed she was not in full sail. She was in port so, naturally, her sails were neatly furled.
A woman was selling some kind of handcrafted item on deck -- knitted, perhaps? My recollection is usually much sharper than this, but I was in full-on minimize-making-a-scene mode with Charlie so my mental energies were otherwise occupied. Crew members had tee shirts, postcards, and caps for purchase on the lower level. I wanted to buy a shirt yet resisted because doing so would have precipitated protests from my sons who also would have wanted something of equal value. Always thinking ahead of the cause and effect of each action I take in the company of my boys!
Two Christians meeting the same fate in two different ways 222 years apart while aboard two versions of the same ship: strange.
It was surreal hearing on the news of the replica ship's fate, watching the video of the incredible Coast Guard helicopter rescue of the survivors, and seeing photographs of the magnificent schooner crashed sideways into the ocean like a scene -- ironically -- out of the very "Pirates" movie in which it appeared! The tragedy occurred the day before Christopher's ninth birthday, and we both cried as I told him about it.
This morning I watched the fourteen survivors interviewed on TV together for the first time. They were happy to be alive but somber when talking to "Good Morning America" about their missing captain and deceased shipmate. Douglas Faunt seemed to speak for them all when he said: "After this, I'm never going to have another bad day in my life." Later in the day, I was further touched by the very personal obituary of Captain Walbridge that appeared in the "Tampa Bay Times."
I am grateful the paths of my sons and I crossed those of the H.M.S. Bounty crew. I hope Christopher and Charlie never forget our visit on board the ship and the promise of adventure and personal reward that can be gleaned from living life outside the box. Captain Robin Walbridge and Claudene Christian died doing exactly what they loved.
May they rest in peace.