Superstorm Sandy Ship Rescue Fills Chopper With Cheers

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Initial reports said there were 17 people on the Bounty, but the manifest indicated the ship only has 16 people aboard.

Cathy Carey of Nova Scotia is a former president of the Society of Preservation of the HMS Bounty and said the last time she saw the ship it looked "well taken care of and I felt really good about the whole thing."

But she wondered why Walbridge was on the ocean with all the warnings about the looming superstorm.

"He knew the storm was coming, for a couple of weeks. He had plenty of time to know," she said. "He shouldn't have gone out there, but it's all hindsight now."

Hugh Boyd, 77, a former Bounty captain for 16 years, echoed Carey in wondering why Walbridge took the ship out as a hurricane approached.

"I'm so sorry he went out in this weather to risk the lives of him and his crew," Boyd said. "It was very risky business."

The former captain said he was devastated by the news of its sinking. He said he had been fielding phone calls all day from about 40 former crew members all who lamented the ship's loss.

"She was so special to many of us, very, very special," he said. "We were so proud to be a part of it and now to hear that she's gone, it's a disaster. This is upsetting, very, upsetting."

Hurricane Sandy Live Updates

Hurricane Sandy, which is stirring up waves as large as 32 feet high according to buoy readings, is also giving a wild ride to passengers on at least five cruise ships.

Captain Vito Giacalone of Carnival Cruise Lines told ABC News via telephone that the storm is getting intense.

"We are navigating through some serious weather, but we're not experiencing any issues. The vessel is very capable," he said.

The five cruise ships in the waters that Sandy is churning today are the Aiduluna, the Carnival Miracle, Explorer of the Seas, the Norwegian Jewel and the Queen Mary 2, which is heading to the United Kingdom.

Daniel Gonzales disembarked from the Disney Dream on Sunday, saying everyone on the ship was getting sick from the waves.

"The ship was going back and forth. It was really scary," said Gonzales.

Cruise ships now out in the waters are being forced to re-route and attempt to ride out the storm throughout the week, and cruise companies are delaying departures and arrivals, and have even cancelled trips.

This is not the first time cruise ship passengers have been tossed about in waves in the past couple of years. In 2010, the Cleilia 2 endured 30-40 foot waves as it sailed through the Drake Passage.

One ship was cruising off the coast of Spain in 2005 when a freak wave more than 70-feet tall crashed against it, reaching the ship's 10th floor and soaking some passengers.

ABC News' Tracey Marx contributed to this report

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