The Flying Dutchman
No captain in the Dutch fleet could deliver their cargo as swiftly as Captain van der Decken. He was a fearsome and fearless man. Where other captains feared to sail, van der Decken would chase hurricanes and high winds to speed his ship’s journey and deliver his cargo in record time. Some would say he was reckless, his crew feared him at times, but it couldn’t be denied that his orders to chase the most challenging weather paid off.
His ship, The Flying Dutchman, was an unusual one, heavily built and curved at the bow to cut cleanly through the water. Heavy square sails were hosted by the three tall masts and her deck was lined with cannons. The ship had fought her way through the waters of the Cape many times.
One day, as The Flying Dutchman was docked at Table Bay unloading cargo, van der Decken was getting agitated. This unloading was taking far too long. The clouds that were swelling over Table Mountain were a sign of a storm to come and van der Decken was eager to use it to his advantage.
The moment the last of the cargo was unloaded from the ship, van der Decken started shouting his orders to close the hatches, man the yards and let loose the sails. They were to depart on the next leg of their journey right there and then.
The crew protested. The brewing storm clouds seemed to be getting darker and darker with every passing moment and the wind was picking up and up and up until it whipped the hats right off the sailors’ heads.
But van der Decken could not be swayed by their pleas and he commanded them once more to their posts. The men did as they were told, and the sails were loosed to catch the raging winds.
The ship ploughed through the beating sea and was tossed and turned like it had never been before. Even van der Decken had to adm9it that this was indeed the most fearsome storm he had ever faced, but that was all the more reason to defeat it!
A mighty crack rang out over the deck of The Flying Dutchman as a mast broke and parts or the damaged sail were whipped away by the raging winds..
For hours they battled the weather around the Cape of Storms, trying with all their might to break through, but each time being thrown back towards the bay. The sailors begged and pleaded with their captain to turn back, quit this madness, which only enraged van der Decken more. He punished the sailors’ cowardly pleas by throwing men overboard to fend for themselves in the wild swells of the ocean.
Van der Decken lashed himself to the ships wheel to prevent himself from going overboard and swore that neither God nor man would prevent him from his task and that he would sail till the Day of Doom if necessary!
Then, all of a sudden, the wind dropped and the sea became calm. All around was stillness. Until, FLASH, a shard of brilliant light lit up the deck of The Flying Dutchman and a shimmering figure appeared before van der Decken. Was this God himself? Was it a storm giant?
The shimmering figure, in a voice louder than the raging storm, boomed a warning to van der Decken. The captain had chosen his path. He would indeed sail until the Day of Doom.
Van der Decken whipped out his pistol and fired at the shimmering spectre, only have pistol-wielding arm fall to his side and shriveled into uselessness.
Lightning cracked overhead, the ship began to glow a blood red, and the crewmen fell to the deck, every one of them now dead. Van der Decken watched in horror as their flesh melted from their bones, leaving behind only skeletons for sailors.
And so it was that van der Decken, himself no longer a mortal man, and The Flying Dutchman, were doomed to sail the Cape of Storms for eternity. Always trying but doomed never to succeed in defeating the storm.
It is said that if another ship were to come across The Dutchman they should offer no help for the cries of mercy coming from on deck, and rather sail away. For any vessel that approaches The Dutchman is sure to meet a disastrous end.