Her beaming smile reflected her enthusiasm for her voyage. "Sailing the seas for these past several months," wrote Claudene Christian, "has definitely agreed with me... No plans to return to land yet." Her passion for her ship, captured with a smooch while wearing a Bounty cap.
But with the massive storm Sandy, the only thing left of the ship was a rubber life raft. The coast guard plucked survivors out of the stormy seas, and an anxious mother grasped at hope.
"Then the ship died cause it was filling up with water," she said.
Back in May her Mom's Facebook post read, "Daughter, Claudene, is on the HMS Tall Ship Bounty, working her way up & down the East Coast Ports. She is a Descendant of Fletcher Christian. This Captain is no Captain Bligh, so there shouldn't be any Mutiny." A comment in jest, but with the tragedy come serious questions.
"The captain was aware of the storm," said the owner of the ship. He says the captain had been at the helm for 20 years.
"I totally trusted his judgement, he was heading way out east to try and go around it, and we just don't know what happened yet," he said.
Claudene was not one of the fortunate ones in the life raft, and when the Coast Guard finally found her, the official description was that she was "unresponsive." News that gave one of her mother's prior photo descriptions new meaning.
"This is her dream," she wrote, "but we sure miss her already."