Claudene Christian dreamed of living a seafaring life like the historic HMS Bounty naval officer who shared her name centuries ago.
She'd secured a spot as a crew member on a replica of the Bounty and had announced it proudly on her Facebook page. But less than six months after joining the ship, her dream was cut short.
As Hurricane Sandy approached the East Coast, its powerful winds swirled up waves that crippled the three-masted, 180-foot Bounty off North Carolina's coast, forcing the 16-member crew to abandon ship.
That's when the waves swept Christian overboard, along with the Bounty's captain and another crew member early Monday, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Parker told CNN. That crew member made it to a lifeboat; Christian's body was found on Monday evening. Capt. Robin Waldridge remains missing.
Christian, 42, often said she was related to Fletcher Christian, the 18th-century sailor blamed for leading the infamous mutiny on the real HMS Bounty.
In May, Christian won a deckhand job on the Bounty replica, which was built for "Mutiny on the Bounty," a 1962 film starring Marlon Brando. The tall ship also appeared in several other movies, including Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.
"I wasn't sure if they'd take me because I didn't have a sailing background," she told a Canadian newspaper in August, "although I've been totally interested in it all my life."
She boasted about the Bounty and her new assignment to her friends and family, describing the ship as a "sailing museum" on her Facebook page. On Twitter, Christian announced "I am in love with my ship ... BOUNTY"
Seeing it as an opportunity to share "our ship and our history," she posted, "I'm sure my ancestor would be proud..."
The ship, she hoped, would begin more efforts toward educating schoolchildren, she told reporters.