June 12, 2010

Kupang fishermen`s fleet to greet sea expedition from Britain

Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Four westerners making a round-the-world boat journey in the Falisker Bounty Boat Expedition from Britain will be welcomed by hundreds of local fishermen`s boats on their approach to Kupang, a provincial tourism official said.

The foursome left Britain last April 28 on a voyage taking the same route as the 18th century British seafarer Captain Bligh did 221 years ago, Ubaldus Gogi, head of promotions at the East Nusatenggara (NTT) culture and tourism office, said here Friday.

He said the boat carrying the four men from Britain and Australia was now in waters south of Papua and expected to head to Kupang from the Tablolong coast next June 17 or 18.

If the expedition team was to approach Kupang from the south, the local fishermen would be directed to sail to the Tablolong coast to greet it there, and then escort it to Kupang`s Teddys beach, Gogi said.

The NTT tourism office had decided to give the special welcome as a gesture of respect for the team`s preparedness to make the long journey to Kupang where Captain Bligh once stayed, he said.

Bligh`s exploits were the subject of three Hollywood films, one of which was titled "The Bounty" with Mel Gibson acting as the British seafarer.

In the film, Kupang was repeatedly described as a land abounding in milk and honey, thus making Kupang favorably known to the world.

Gogi said 221 years ago Captain Bligh embarked on a journey from Britain to America and Australia. But on its way from America to Australia his ship was hit by a storm near Tahiti where he was forced to throw anchor to repair damage suffered by his vessel.

When, after a period of time, the repairs were completed, and Bligh ordered the resumption of the journey, many of the crew did not want to leave because they had become attached to the Tahitians. Bligh , however, forced them to board the ship and say goodbye to Tahiti. The crew continued to resent having to leave Tahiti and when the ship had reached the Tonga islands, their objection culminated in mutiny, The mutineers were able to overpower Bligh and a few crew members who had remained loyak to him , and eventually decided to get rid of them.

Bligh and 11 of his supporters were lowered on to the sea in a small boat and left to their own resources. It was then that Bligh told the others in the boat "Let us head to Kupang where there is plenty of milk and honey" and they eventually did reach Kupang although a few of them died on the way.

One of Bligh`s assistants who died, a sailor named Alphons, was buried in Kupang. One of the things the Felisker Bounty Boat Expedition members plan to do in Kupang is trying to find Alphons`s grave, Gogi said. (*)

Source : http://antaranews.com/en/news/1276302861/kupang-fishermens-fleet-to-greet-sea-expedition-from-britain

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