The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans for eternity. The legend of The Flying Dutchman is said to have started in 1641 when a Dutch ship sank off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope. The Flying Dutchman was returning home to Holland after a trip to the Far East. 

The myth is likely to have originated from 17th-century nautical folklore. Sightings in the 19th and 20th centuries reported the ship to be glowing with a ghostly light. If hailed by another ship, the crew of the Flying Dutchman will try to send messages to land, or to people long dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship usually means doom. There have been numerous sightings of the ship, and usually spotted from a distance. 

One legend reports that, on a storm day hundreds of years ago Vander Decken went deranged one night and murdered his own crew, incurring the wrath of God. As a punishment, he and his ship were forced to wander the seas forever. However, though 

it was clear that Decken was mad, legends tend to exaggerate. Another story depicts that Vander Decken was caught in a terrible storm. A ship that had been travelling next to his asked him if he was going to go into port, Vander Decken spoke and said "May I be eternally damned if I do, though I should beat about here 'till the day of judgment." And so he did. 

Others say he failed to notice the dark clouds looming and only when he heard the lookout scream out in terror, he realised that they had sailed straight into a fierce storm. Captain and crew apparently battled for hours to get out of the storm when they heard a sickening crunch - the ship had hit treacherous rocks and began to sink. As the ship plunged downwards, Captain Van der Decken knew that death was approaching. He was not ready to die and screamed out a curse: "I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until doomsday!  

But whatever the specifics of the legend, the Flying Dutchman has become a mainstay of maritime lore.