Wednesday, August 11, 2010
HK: The Merry-making on The Bounty
The mutiny on the Bounty has got to be one of the most famous in naval history.
This life-size replica of the original H.M.A.V. Bounty was made in 1978 for the Dino de Laurentiis movie "The Bounty" (released 1983). It stars a brilliantly brusque Anthony Hopkins as Captain William Bligh, and Mel Gibson as Christian Fletcher, his so-called friend who would lead the mutiny against him.
Is this really the boat where the filming took place? We were going to have dinner on it!
The three-masted ship itself is the only European tall ship to reside in Hong Kong, and it sure looks historic and grand, but the 42m length is not that large by today's standards. The deck is 7m wide and 30m long.
What is interesting is that Captain Bligh intended to circumnavigate the globe with a vessel this size, going to Tahiti to collect breadfruit plants as a source of food for slaves in Jamaica. However, life in Tahiti was just too idyllic and the women too winsome. The crew got tired of Bligh's short temper and decided to chuck their boss and most of whoever still loyal to him out to sea on an open boat.
But Bligh was an excellent sailor and survivor. In that tiny 7m longboat, he brought his remaining team 6,700km (4,000 miles) to Timor, using nothing but a sextant and a pocket watch. No maps, no compasses. They made it with only one life lost. Just look at the beautiful smooth voyages (red and green) he achieved, compared to the messy and confused lines made by Christian post-mutiny.
The movie I have not seen but looks like an underrated classic. Here are some clips showing Anthony Hopkins at his best. From the video description - "Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson are obviously easy to notice. But see if you can spot a young Daniel Day-Lewis, Liam Neeson, and Dexter Fletcher (one of the four main characters from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels)."
My gosh, were all of them on the same ship? Yes indeed, you can see them, including Liam, my absolute favourite Jedi! Did he walk on this very ship too? He looks almost too gentle to be one of the mutineers. Still think he looks most dashing as Qui-Gon Jinn.
But I am digressing. Anthony Hopkins is the really powerful force here.
OK, OK, back to reality.
No high seas or hijinks on this Bounty. Only the sleek skyline of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.
However, there were still plenty of winsome maidens, including some lucky bloggers who got a makeover just in time for the event. We settled down quickly with drinks and high spirits.
Foodwise, it was a bounty too, as it was a buffet. Smoked salmon, German potato salad, Thai beef salad, Caesar Salad and fresh vegetable crudites for starters.
There was a platter of roasted meats - still covered when I took photos. I didn't try these. The appetisers were as far as I got, having already had 4 meals plus dessert before the cruise.
Mains - lamb chops, grilled chicken steak with herb gravy, grilled mixed mushrooms with zucchini, fried rice, stewed rib fingers with burgundy sauce, pan-fried sole fillet with teriyaki sauce.
I'm sorry, did I say no hijinks?
The Bounty goes around the Victoria Harbour I think a few times, so you are entreated to the beautiful evening water views.
The Hong Kong island skyline at night.
Kowloon side is equally lit up but I seem to prefer the HK island panorama - this is Wanchai.
A Symphony of Lights blasting light beams into the sky. Over 40 buildings synchronise coloured lights, lasers, searchlights and music from their rooftops. We got to see this laser multimedia show right from the ship itself. It happens 8pm nightly.
Everyone watched as they chatted and drank. I realise it's not easy taking night shots on a swaying boat...
We bid fond farewells to The Bounty as the cruise drew to a close. It dropped us off conveniently on the Kowloon side, which is near our hotel. But the night was still young. Some of us then went for supper, some for shopping and some went clubbing. It certainly was a long and full day - and this was only day 2!
Big thanks to the Hong Kong Tourism Board who arranged this. Check out the other bloggers' Bounty related posts here. This post is also replicated on the OMY Hong Kong Travel Blog. You can also win a 3D/2N trip to Hong Kong, by voting your favourite blogger. Voting is allowed once a day, every day, until 31 Aug.
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