Maybe it is because I am experiencing that universal election fatigue; where as a nation we are bashing the ideas and opinions of those differing from our own on Facebook and media forums. (Admittedly, I am guilty of the same).
Perhaps it is because with the build up of accusations focused on the HMS Bounty's captain, I am reminded of the wooden boat forums and bloggers who all had to weigh in on the actions of Zodiac's crew and captain when we were dismasted several years ago. All of them certain that we had made some critical error in judgement on that day--else why would it have happened?
The greater the drama and tragedy, the more the speculation of course... this is human nature.
I look back on the events of that day now and vividly recall the heroic actions of Zodiac's captain Tim Mehrer and my fellow crew-members. I applaud the courage of the children and chaperones onboard at the time and have an abiding, deep admiration for the crew of USCG Terrapin who came to our aid. I am also grateful that we all survived to tell the tale. (...and correct the misinformation).
There is a video circulating online of an interview with Bounty's captain from August this year. I've seen it twice now. It is a nice homage to a beautiful ship and a captain whom, it is apparent, loves his vessel. The incredibly annoying host asks all the typical questions, "Is it a pirate ship?... What was Johnny Depp like in person? ... How fast does she go?"... yada yada yada...
The YouTube video that I refer to has recently been posted on several sites, it comes with the editorial prompt to check out minute ten, where they discuss heavy-weather sailing. I choose not to post this on my page mainly because I feel it would have been more appropriate seen by the USCG first, not put out in circulation for the arm chair quarter backs to blast away with their condemnations. The family of the crew and deceased should be given that courtesy. Besides, anybody can easily Google it should they wish to see the interview.
My initial reaction (as a crew member on a tall ship that makes appearances at shows), was that Captain Walbridge was doing a rather good job at fielding all of the questions the somewhat flamboyant reporter hoisted his way. It was readily apparent to someone (who on numerous occasions, has had to repeat the "boat-show patter"), which of his answers were given by rote and which ones he invested himself in answering. The next things I noticed were how patient the captain appeared with what became a rather extensive interview. Aside from the jealousy that tugged at my sub-conscious (as the marketing guru on Zodiac, I'd kill for a lengthy opportunity to wax poetic about my ship)!... I wondered whether his responses were off the cuff or if he'd been briefed prior to the shoot. (I also wished that the camera man would have informed the reporter that his fly was unzipped, but that is a rather irrelevant, annoying detail).
|Crowds gather to tour Zodiac at a festival.|
What if I'd been recorded at some point making an off-hand comment about our sails, our mast or something that could have been used against the Zodiac upon her dismasting episode? What if during an early morning interview, with my crew down below eating breakfast, (perhaps I was hungover--wouldn't have been the first time mind you), I made a flippant joke about loving to push the ship beyond her capabilities, or sarcastically implying that we don't bother with checking our rig... what if that was pulled out of context by a small town cable station hoping to capitalize on our catastrophe? What if (knock on wood), I had been killed when the mast fell onto the deck and was no longer around to defend my actions or comments?
I do not wish to sound as if I have any inside information as to this captain's frame of mind during this interview. Maybe he was tossing out false bravado to impress his audience, maybe not. Maybe he actually was the thrill-seeking sort of character that would hunt down a storm. The point is, that I am fully aware that I am not qualified, here in my seat at dock, to weigh in on the matter.
I confess that the comments regarding hurricanes could be interpreted as very damning--certainly ironic given the tragedy that has befallen the ship last week. It was indeed eerie to hear him say, as he knocked on wood in a very sailor-like tradition, that they'd never lost a crew member overboard. However, in the policy of innocent until proven guilty, I will not pass judgement on this individual based solely on an early morning talk show interview. Might I add right now, "Shame on Belfast Community Media and Insight Productions for their inappropriate release of this tape and insensitivity they have exhibited towards the family of Captain Robin Walbridge."
There but for the grace of God go so many others....
And once again, I say "Bless the crew and the good ship Bounty"... and whisper a silent prayer to Poseidon/ Neptune/ Ægir/ Almighty, to keep us safe when underway.