December 3, 2012

Message in a bottle stays close to home, but casts a wide net

A communication from the HMS Bounty takes on new meaning for the recipient and the sender since the ship sank.

By Noel K. Gallagher
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Scott Nash shows the message in a bottle that he found on Peaks Island.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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The note was inserted into a barbecue sauce bottle and tossed off the HMS Bounty replica.


SCOTT NASH was introduced to Toshiki Sawada as part of a cultural exchange between Maine and Japan.

THE RELATIONSHIP was born out of a shipping tragedy. In 1889, the Chesebrough, owned by Arthur Sewall & Co. of Bath, Maine, and loaded with sulphur, got caught in a typhoon off the coast of Japan, finally running aground on a shoal about a mile offshore. Villagers rescued four members of the crew and were struck by the strange goods, fruits and vegetables that washed ashore. A pear tree that grows in the village today is from a seed planted after the shipwreck.

AS NASH and Sawada discussed the shipwreck that brought their communities together, they decided to collaborate on a children's story.

TO LEARN MORE about the Chesebrough tragedy, and Maine and Japan's sister-city relationship, go to:


Today, Nash wishes he hadn't waited so long to do that.

"I was really negligent," he said. "I had this treasure that I have always wanted."

But for Orchulli, the timing is poignant, given the tragedy of the Bounty.

"I think it's a real blessing in a dark time," said Orchulli, who has shared the story of Nash discovering the bottle with other past crew members who, like himself, consider themselves part of a larger Bounty family.

Over the weekend, Orchulli was at a memorial service in Massachusetts for the Bounty and its lost crew.

The three-masted sailing ship was built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty," and later was featured in several other films, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

The original Bounty became famous after its crew mutinied and took over the ship from its commander, Lt. William Bligh, in April 1789.

For Nash, the story continues to play out.

He and Sawada bonded over music, he said, and he was struck that Orchulli played guitar and had just performed at the memorial for the Bounty victims.

He has been in touch with another crew member from the Bounty who is a budding illustrator.

"This poor neglected message in a bottle has led to all this," Nash said. "At this point, I'm just trying to comprehend what's happened. I don't think it's completely over yet."

Staff Writer Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:


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