The Flying Dutchman is a legend about a cursed ship that is doomed to travel around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa for all eternity. It was made famous in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.
The legend of The Flying Dutchman started in 1641 when a Dutch ship sank off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope. The captain, Van der Decken failed to notice the dark clouds looming and only when he heard the lookout scream out in terror, did he realise that they had sailed straight into a fierce storm.
The captain and his crew battled for hours to get out of the storm and at one stage it looked like they would make it. Then they heard a sickening crunch – the ship had hit treacherous rocks and began to sink. As the ship plunged downwards, Captain VandeDecken 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!”
So, even today whenever a storm brews off the Cape of Good Hope, if you look into the eye of the storm, you will be able to see the ship and its captain – The Flying Dutchman. The legend goes that whoever sees the ship will die a terrible death.
Many people have claimed to have seen The Flying Dutchman, including the crew of a German submarine boat during World War II.
On 11 July 1881, the Royal Navy ship, the Bacchante was rounding the tip of Africa, when they were confronted with the sight of The Flying Dutchman. The midshipman, a prince who later became King George V, recorded that the lookout man and the officer of the watch had seen the Flying Dutchman and he used these words to describe the ship:
“A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the mast, spars and sails of a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief.”
It’s pity that the lookout saw the Flying Dutchman, for soon after on the same trip, he accidentally fell from a mast and died. Fortunately for the English royal family, the young midshipman survived the curse.
The Flying Dutchman appeared as the ghost ship in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. It is also featured in the novel “Castaways of the Flying Dutchman” by Brian Jacques. SpongeBob SquarePants has a video game called “Revenge of the Flying Dutchman”.