The Flying Dutchman… No Not A 60’s Rock Group.

When you think of legends of the seven seas that sailors would tell to one another there are multiple stories and superstitions that come to mind. The sailing community is one of the most superstitious in my opinion. Sailors have good luck rituals that are able to fill a book, oh wait I googled that and found about 50 different books on sailor superstitions, that’s a good confirmation to my statement. However in all seriousness with even the modern and highly technical equipment that the Navy uses today the superstitious ways are still prevalent. And just equally just as prevalent are the sea stories of legend and the one in particular I’m referencing is that of the Flying Dutchman.

Most people have hard of the Flying Dutchman legend but more likely in the bastardized Hollywood scenario such as is with the Pirates Of The Caribbean and even Sponge Bob Squarepants. There are many people out there who do not know the legend of the Flying Dutchman has been around since the 17th century.

This nautical tale is that of a doomed shipped that can never make port and is in fact a ghost ship. There are different accounts that some would try and signal to the ship to see if they could communicate with it, but in most of the stories the sight of the Flying Dutchman always spelled impending doom on to those witnesses. The origin of the story is a bit of a mystery as there are a few Dutch ships that have been associated with the story. However the one aspect that is the same is that a mighty storm had taken the ship along with the lives of the men who sailed upon her.

Bad weather is most usually associated with the spotting of such a ghostly ship as well as the impeding doom to those who spot her, but again the story is unclear as to why the ship is doomed to phantom sail the seas. Some say that a disgruntled captain made a threat to the seas and the winds, how that would make you be eternally damned I’m not sure, but oh well.

There are those out there who have tried to explain the ghostly ship as merely an optical illusion. These such optical illusion are called looming of Fata Morgana in which the sea reflection sends the image to the sky and because of certain weather conditions shows what appears to be a ship. I would go into the complete scientific break down of it, and while I could, I will let you do some research instead of me spoon feeding you all the information.

I am a person who would love nothing more than to see a spectral sip sailing across the sky during an impending storm. However I also realize that this is nothing more than a sailors tale of legend and lore, a good story, but simply just that…a story.

Be safe and wear a life jacket,

Jon Bolton

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