Now, most everyone knows that Wolfert Dircksen Van Ness, the handsome hero of Heart of the Storm is a 17th century sea captain from our world. However, after going through a tumultous storm in the Bermuda Triangle, he and his crew find themselves in another dimension altogether. Despite his change in venue, our dashing captain has discovered that he can cross back and forth between our world and his. But the thing is, during his visits, he, his crew, and his ship, appear as ghostly shadows of their former selves. Kind of like the Flying Dutchman...
Yes indeed...The Flying Dutchman...almost everyone recognizes the name. But did you know the moniker refers to the Captain of the ship, and not the ship itself?
|The Flying Dutchman by Albert Pinkham Ryder c. 1887|
According to legend, Captain Hendrick Van Der Decken set his course for Amsterdam. During the voyage he encountered a raging storm while rounding the Cape of Good Hope. The tempest threatened to dash the ship to pieces and end the lives of all aboard. Despite calls from the crewman to turn the ship about, he swore an oath to round the Cape “even if it took him ‘til Doomsday.”
While giant waves hammered the ship, Van Der Decken smoked his pipe, quaffed his ale, and sang obscene songs. In a last ditch effort to save their lives, the crew mutinied. Enraged, the captain took hold of his pistol, killed the chief mutineer and tossed his body into the sea. In that same instant, the clouds parted, and from the heavens, a roaring voice accused him of obstinance.
Since that fateful day, many reputable and experienced sailors have spotted The Flying Dutchman, including Prince George of Wales. During the 1880's, he and his brother, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, sailed with their tutor, Dalton. Off the coast of Australia, between Melbourne and Sydney, they spied the Dutchtman. Dalton leaves us this record:
At 4 a.m. the Flying Dutchman crossed our bows. A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the masts, spars and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief as she came up on the port bow, where also the officer of the watch from the bridge clearly saw her, as did the quarterdeck midshipman, who was sent forward at once to the forecastle; but on arriving there was no vestige nor any sign whatever of any material ship was to be seen either near or right away to the horizon, the night being clear and the sea calm. Thirteen persons altogether saw her ... At 10.45 a.m. the ordinary seaman who had this morning reported the Flying Dutchmanfell from the foretopmast crosstrees on to the topgallant forecastle and was smashed to atoms.
Several U Boat crews reported sighting The Flying Dutchman off the Cape Peninsula as well. Then, on the 26th of January, 1923, four seamen sighted the Dutchman—or at least they believe they saw the Dutchman. At precisely 12:15 A.M. they saw a strange light out in the distance. With the aid of binoculars they made out what they believed to be the hull of a luminous ship with two masts. An eerie mist, created the sails. As the ghostly ship neared their position, the vessel suddenly disappeared...
So what do you think? A bit of ocean madness for sailors who've been at sea at bit too long or does the Flying Dutchman still sail?