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    Re: Recreating Bligh's voyage to Timor
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2010 May 29, 10:28 +1000
    George writes:

    The article refers to Bligh's  "desperate 3600-nautical-mile escape from
    Tonga to Timor", which is a fiction. Bligh was never closer to Timor than
    100 miles or so, passing well to its North. The reference to Timor relates
    to the point from which the modern expedition intended to depart, and is
    unrelated to Bligh's voyage.

     
    Are we talking about the same Timor, George? (not that I know of any other).  It has always been my understanding that Bligh's ship's boat trip ended at Timor.  They all went on to Batavia, and subsequently very few; only Bligh and a couple of favourites, reached England via other craft.  Most of Bligh's crew, after having loyally stuck by Bligh during the mutiny, and after having been safely brought across a wide swathe of the Pacific in that tiny boat, thanks in no small measure to Bligh's leadership, were then callously abandoned by Bligh in Batavia,  where nearly all expired due to various fevers which were endemic there at the time.  Bligh always was, if nothing else, an eccentric leader with a fortunately rare ability to so infuriate those he was supposed to be leading that he twice goaded his men to mutiny, at a time when this was considered as the most heinous of crimes.

    "To lose one [command, Mr. Bligh], may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." as Oscar Wilde so neatly, or nearly, put it.

    Getting back to Timor, the Dutch governor there at the time, Bligh's host, was himself dying of fever while entertaining Bligh, who paid for his supper by recounting tales of the Pacific, which the governor had never visited and had only the sketchiest notions about.  Very few Europeans had ever visited the South Pacific at that time, and it was still a place of fancy rather than fact.

    Went looking online for some support for this apparently widespread notion that Bligh did reach Timor as the terminus of that trip, and share just a few links quickly found: (if I am wrong then no doubt you will set me right, George, although if I am right I expect nothing more, based on previous vast experience, than your silence):

    "After Bligh and his crew of 18 made an epic and eventful journey in the small boat to Timor in the Dutch East Indies, he returned to the United Kingdom and..."
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny_on_the_Bounty

    "...Royal Navy Commanding Lieutenant William Bligh and 17 other crewmembers from the HMS Bounty reached the island of Timor after ..."
    mattstodayinhistory.blogspot.com/.../bligh-arrives-at-timor-mutiny-on-bounty.html

    "After an epic 6 weeks' voyage, Bligh reached Timor in the East Indies, having traveled 3618 miles in an open longboat."
    www.answers.com/topic/william-bligh -

    "
    Bligh's Open Boat Voyage to Timor: a marvellous feat of seamanship..."
    www.eoas.info/bib/HASB02142.htm

    "
    William Bligh dated Coupang in Timor August 18th 1789 addressed to Philip Stephens Esq., Secretary of the Admiralty was read as follows viz: ..."
    www.fatefulvoyage.com/trial/trial00BlighLetter.html

    This last apparently refers to a letter written by Bligh while in Timor, at the now Indonesian town spelled these days Kupang, at the Dutch end of the island of Timor.  The eastern part was the Portuguese colony of East Timor, and is now the independent nation of the same name (in English, at any rate).

    If I am wrong then no doubt you will set me right, George, although if I am right I expect nothing more, based on previous vast experience, than your silence.  Is it not so?


       
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