All you need to know about…. Sea Legends

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Everyone knows about the Titanic. And if you live somewhere near the sea or come from a sailing family (something fairly unlikely in Pittsburgh, it may be added), you most likely have heard stories about the Lusitania and Davy Jones and his locker. But if you haven’t heard of either of those don’t fear (anything except for the Kraken)– the information below will tell you everything you need to know about both of those sea legends and myths.

First up, the Lusitania. In the early 1900’s, boat companies in Europe would hold a competition to find which boat was fastest among all. The winner received an award named the Blue Riband. In 1908, German boats had held the award for the past five years, to the disgrace of England, who was (and is) famous for their military prowess, especially in the navy. After German boats won the Blue Riband for the sixth year in 1909, the English government decided to take matters into their own hands. They gave a $2 million loan to the English ship building company Cunard, who promised that they would build a ship faster than any other. The result was the RMS Lusitania. At it’s time, Lusitania could speed as fast as 26 knots in open water, and had reinforced hulls in case of war, when the navy could reclaim the ship. All in all, it seemed to many unsinkable…. Just like the Titanic. Like history shows, neither were. The ship departed for its last Atlantic crossing on May 1, 1915, with many on-board believing that the journey would be safe and quick, and that they would be escorted by British Navy ships after they  entered waters included within the war zone. They were all very, very wrong. The morning before the Lusitania departed New York City, the German embassy in New York posted an ad in the newspaper stating the dangers of sailing on the Titanic. No one cancelled their tickets because of it. Six days later, German submarine U-20 torpedoed the ship, breaching war policy and sending 1,198 persons to their death as the ship sunk in 18 minutes.

Although heartbreaking, the story of the Lusitania is in no ways scary. A story that is, though, is the legend of Davy Jones and his locker. Davy Jones’ locker often refers to the bottom of the sea, where unfortunate sailors or sea men sometimes meet there deaths. Davy Jones is rumored to be the name of either a murderous pirate who was forced to walk the plank or a captain of a ghost ship that sunk in a storm and all on it perished. The most common variation of the Davy Jones story is that he was once captain of “The Flying Dutchman”, a ghost ship that wandered across the oceans forever because it could not make port and sunk in a storm. According to legend, Jones said “God or Devil… I will sail around the Cape, even if it means sailing towards our last judgement.” The devil then took over the ship and as a consequence, the crew had to sail the seas forever, working the chip for eternity without saying a single word.

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