The Flying Dutchman (painting by Ado Ceric) . . .

The Legend of the Flying Dutchman


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 (southernmost tip of the African Continent). The story goes something like this:

Captain van der Decken was pleased. The trip to the Far East had been highly successful and, at last, they were on their way home to The Holland Company (his employers) to start a settlement at the Cape on the tip of Africa, thereby providing a welcome respite to ships at sea. He was so deep in thought that he 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 struck treacherous rocks and soon began to sink. As the ship plunged downwards, Captain Van der Decken knew that death was approaching. But, 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. Don't look too carefully, for many an old sailor claims that whoever sights the ship will die a terrible death!


Flying Dutchman - Selected Sightings

While most people agree the “origin” of the ship's fate is a legend, the Flying Dutchman has been sighted by many reliable witnesses. All of the following were in the Cape of Good Hope region. Lighthouse keepers in the region have also reported seeing her:
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