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June 3, 1974

Ciguatera and the Voyage of Captain Bligh

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiotherapy, Tufts New England Medical Center, Boston (Dr. A. Steinfeld), and the Montgomery County Health Department, Rockville, Md (Dr. H. Steinfeld).

JAMA. 1974;228(10):1270-1271. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230350042027

AFTER the mutiny aboard the H.M.S. Bounty on April 28, 1789, Captain Bligh and a group of 18 men were set adrift in a 23-foot open boat. They completed one of the most difficult and famous voyages of navigational history, with the exceptional record of no loss of life except for one death from native violence and some additional deaths from tropical disease on an island at which they stopped. During the course of this voyage, Captain Bligh, in spite of extreme emaciation, remained in surprisingly good health. There was, however, a single episode of unexplained illness, which may have been poisoning.

At four o'clock on Monday, June 8, 1789, after more than 1 1/2 months at sea, and after having sailed more than 3,000 miles (5,559.6 km), their first fish was caught at approximately latitude 9° 09′ south, longitude 131° 31′ east, a point near the north coast of