Ships found drifting with no crew aboard. Lighthouse keepers haunted by the Grey Lady, searching for her lost babe. A wooden ship trapped in Arctic ice for 13 years traveling the Northwest Passage with a frozen crew. The ghosts of drowned sailors photographed swimming alongside a ship.
These are some of the stories told in Sailors’ Yarns & Tavern Tales. For most of the long history of humans at sea, thousands of primitive and not so primitive vessels must have gone missing, succumbing to the perils of the sea. We have no knowledge of those events as, for the most part, history was an oral tradition. Seafarers of those times doubtlessly talked of missing ships and other happenings at sea. And, being humans, seafarers embellished those stories as they were told and retold in port taverns.
Today, we build all manner of ships, equipped with modern navigation and communication aids. Yet, ships still run aground and are buffeted by hurricanes and other forces of nature. Yes, some have disappeared, too. Between 1984 and 2004, 200 large cargo ships, over 656 feet (200 meters) in length, were lost for various reasons, often unknown. Science is beginning to discover the natural forces behind some of these mysteries.
The mystery yarns of the sea in this book are from the past four centuries and from many sources. Some are fact, others based on fact but embroidered in the telling, and still others may only be figments of storytellers’ imaginations. Whatever their authenticity, sailors’ yarns are entertaining. Such tales also give those who live on land a glimpse into the world of those who follow the sea as a career. In a world of satellites and GPS, the oceans are still mysterious with secrets yet to be unraveled.
This entertaining book tells twenty strange stories of mysterious disappearances and weird happenings at sea. It also presents some of the natural causes behind such stories, which today's scientists and investigators are discovering.