Tag Archives: Tahiti

Memories on the Bounty: A Story of Friendship, Love, and Adventure by Janet Coulter Sanford

Bounty, Lunenburg, NS 2012

Oct. 29, 2012, was a sad day in nautical history as the replica tall ship Bounty sank due to damage from being caught in Hurricane Sandy off the coast of the eastern U.S. A little over eight years later, on December 5th, 2020, Roy Boutilier, one of the original crew members of that ship, quietly passed away in Nova Scotia from Alzheimer’s disease. Roy, who had no previous sailing knowledge, was a last-minute substitute crewman for the hand-built replica built in Lunenburg in 1960. The ship was commissioned by MGM studios for the making of the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando and Leslie Howard. The crew’s mission was to sail it to Tahiti and move it around various locations there as filming required. Some, like Roy, were even employed as extras on the set and can be seen in the movie if you know who to look for. He was even befriended by Marlon Brando himself!

Someone who knew Roy well was Janet Coulter Sanford. She and her husband had been friends with Roy and his wife Bev for years before Roy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2017. Janet was quite used to hearing Roy talk about his time on the Bounty and never thought much about it until she realized that these stories would be slowly shut away in Roy’s brain, never to be heard of again. “What a waste,” she thought. Determined to create a small book of remembrances for Roy’s family and friends, she soon realized that Roy had all kinds of stories and a host of memorabilia to go with it.

I was there a long time that first day—astounded and at the material Roy had amassed. Right away I could see that the twenty-five page account I had originally envisioned would never suffice for this rich, little-known story. Encouraged by my enthusiastic reaction, Rov asked, "What do you think, Jan? There's a lot of terrific stuff here, isn't there?"
"Yes," I agreed. "You have a wonderful story here. I really had no idea there was so much to tell."
Neither of us said anything for a few moments. And then, almost shyly, Roy continued. "I bet you could write a great book about all this. What do you say, Jan?"

So, despite all my misgivings, I heard myself say, "Yes, Roy, we're going to write a book! " We would tell the story of Bounty—its Nova Scotian  beginnings, the voyage to Tahiti, and its starring movie role. We would tell the stories of the men who sailed with him. We would sort through Roy's photographs and slides and preserve some of those moments in time. Alzheimer's might someday rob my old friend of those memories, but his story would not be lost.
I was not aware of it at the time, but I was actually embarking on something more important than just retelling Roy's Bounty stories. But that would only become clear to me as the months passed.

The result is a beautifully wrought memoir of both Roy and the Bounty and the time spent aboard her, and the years after as Roy returned to Nova Scotia and the business of making a living, like so many other of the crew, did. Ms. Coulter Sanford manages to track down two other shipmates of Roy, and their subsequent meeting after all these years is quite poignant, as they pick up where they left off, and tell more stories, new ones that Jan hasn’t heard yet. Another touching moment is when, in 2012, the Bounty visits Lunenburg once again and Roy meets a descendant of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutineers. Weeks later, the Bounty is no more after Hurricane Sandy is done with her. With many of Roy’s photos (colour and black & white), newspaper clippings and other ephemera, Memories on the Bounty is a perfect softcover keepsake book for anyone fascinated with nautical history.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janet Coulter Sanford is a book lover. Throughout her thirty-year career as an English teacher, she championed Canadian literature and fostered a love of reading in many students. A graduate of Mount Allison and Dalhousie Universities, she lives in Moncton, NB, with her husband, John, and her incorrigible golden retriever, Kristy. Memories on the Bounty is her debut book.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Nimbus Publishing Limited (July 27 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 176 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771089571
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771089579

This article has been Digiproved © 2021 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

Wayfarer: A Memoir by James S. Rockefeller Jr.

Being the son of James S. Rockefeller Sr. the successful Wall Street banker, young James’ childhood was “very privileged. There were no material wants. The food was plain but wholesome. Wealth, as I grew to be aware of it, was not be flaunted, but I didn’t know back then that my family had it.” As you read through the pages of Wayfarer, his memoirs, you definitely get the sense that none of the four children in the house in Connecticut received any special treatment, nor did they believe they were entitled to any. Money was just not an issue like it is for many of us.

The Mandalay, Tahiti

James Jr. (Or “Pebble” as he was nicknamed) was schooled, expected to graduate and eventually take his place in the business world. But it was not to be, despite his father’s best efforts. At an early point, he introduces young James to the inner workings of a textile mill in Rhode Island:

“The manager of the mill was due for retirement shortly after my scheduled release from higher education. No other family member had stepped forward to take his place. My father’s eyes rose expectantly to mine. I failed him by slipping away the following year, selling my interest in the Casey cutter [a boat he and he brother Andrew has peurchased] to buy an old forty-foot Friendship sloop of dubious virtue in Annapolis, which I also christened Mandalay. The plan was as directional as the North Star—namely, to sail around the world. Napping machines and print rollers, preparing cloth for pyjamas and shirts, could not compete with the incense of the Tropics.”

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Margaret Wise Brown

And so the adventure begins. Along the way, he takes us down the east coast to Cumberland Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia that generations of Carnegies (his maternal relatives) owned. There, he meets a visitor that becomes the first love of his life, children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. “Like her books, Margaret is eternal and forever loved” Mr. Rockefeller states.

Lest you think Mr. James S. Rockefeller Jr. is sailing the oceans in a crewed yacht while sitting back sipping single malt Scotch, reading Wayfarer will quickly rid you of that notion. The Mandalay was no rich man’s yacht, and James, along with a friend or two were the entire crew. Certainly, the money at his disposal helped to pave over some of the rougher spots, but he was still out on the ocean in a tired, leaky old boat with few, if any luxuries. The amazing part of his memoirs, whether he is in the Tropics, America or Norway is the fascinating people he meets, the relationships formed and, sadly, loves lost.

One wonders if a person could do the same type of trip today: would those isolated islands now be inhabited, with modern technology available? The relative ease that James has in sailing from one port to another, meeting people, getting supplies and spending time as a guest of a resident or two is endlessly engrossing. His writing style is eloquent, yet down-to-earth, with a  talent for making words state a certain feeling or event in his life.

“Keeping a diary or writing letters is alien in this age of email and the cell phone. It was somewhat alien even back when I was young. J don’t know why, but from an early age I wrote letters and jotted down thoughts. There were several close friends to whom I could pour out my heart in writing, saying things I would not say to family and those surrounding me. Letter writing and diary keeping seemed to arrange events and people in better perspective. When we are young, emotion rises easily to the surface, while with age, observations are often wiser but not so vibrantly colored. We grow more guarded, building up barriers against the abrasions of daily living.
Looking back over my letters and diary of the voyage, I see that the incidents, people, and places were like eyelets in a boot. Laced together they became a structure supporting my footsteps along the path to adulthood, from heartbreak to some measure of healing.”

Living vicariously through books like Wayfarer is what makes reading so fun. While it is a personal memoir, it is also a time capsule from an era when the world held great mysteries, and one had to see them for themselves; there was no Google Earth to rely on. Just maps, charts and the stars. I highly recommend Wayfarer to those with an interest in sailing, travel and experiencing exceptional adventures populated with captivating personalities every step of the way.  Gripping, honest and impassioned, this is a memoir writing at its best.

You can read an excerpt from Wayfarer at the Islandport website. It is Chapter Six in the print edition. https://www.islandportpress.com/press/writer-of-songs-and-nonsense.html

Wayfarer: A memoir by James S. Rockefeller Jr.
Islandport Press

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This article has been Digiproved © 2019 James Fisher

Some Rights Reserved  

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