ship in stormy sea

“You wouldn’t think she’d been gone so long, would you? Sometimes, when I walk along the corridor, I fancy I hear her just behind me, that quick, light step. I couldn’t mistake it anywhere, not only in this room, but in all the rooms in the house. I can almost hear it now. Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?”

Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca

There are times in our lives when we have zero control over what is happening.

Like a ship at stormy sea or a raft caught in the rapids, we are carried by the momentum of our choices and all that stands between ourselves and total chaos are the reflexes entrained in us. 

In those moments, what carries us is our karma. 

How we have lived, who we have become, the kinetics of our consciousness, all of these things come into heightened play. 

It is said that this is the way at the moment of our deaths and it is what magnetizes us toward our rebirth. 

So when the skies are clear and the seas are obedient, be very deliberate about how you choose to live. You never know when the storm will come and the waves will overtake you. You must be ready. 

Use the time you have. Meditate daily, contemplate continually, question endlessly until the bedrock of your awakening stands self-revealed.


There were two lofty ships
 From old England came
Blow high, blow low
And so sail we
One was the Prince of Luther
 The other Prince of Wales
All a-cruisin’ down the coast
Of High Barbary

“Aloft there, aloft there”
 Our jolly bosun cried
“Look ahead, look astern,
 Look to weather an’ a-lee”

“There’s naught upon the stern, sir
 There’s naught upon our lee
But there’s a lofty ship to wind'ard
 An’ she’s sailin’ fast and free”

“Oh hail her, oh hail her”
 Our gallant captain cried
“Are you a man-o-war
 Or a privateer?” cried he

“Oh, I’m not a man-o-war
 Nor privateer,” said he
“But I am salt sea pirate
 All a-looking for me fee”

For Broadside, for broadside
 A long time we lay
‘Til at last the Prince of Luther
 Shot the pirate’s mast away

“Oh quarter, oh quarter”
 Those pirates they did cry
But the quarter that we gave them
 Was we sank 'em in the sea

Writing Prompt #292

A stormy sea and a sturdy ship were all I had dreamed of for years, yearning for the freedom to sail and steal whatever and whenever I pleased. Little did I know, piracy was far different than I had ever anticipated.

Sailors & Other Sea Travellers - Superstition & Folklore

 "Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red skies at morning, sailor take warning.


Davy Jones is a popular character in sailor’s yore, especially of the gothic variety. Davy Jones’ Locker, is an idiom for the bottom of the sea: the state of death for drowned sailors. The origins of the name are unclear, and many theories have been put forth, including:

  • An actual David Jones, who was a pirate on the Indian Ocean in the 1630s.
  • A pub owner who kidnapped sailors and then dumped them onto any passing ship.
  • The incompetent Duffer Jones, a myopic sailor who often found himself over-board.
  • Or that Davy Jones is another name for Satan or "Devil Jonah”, the biblical Jonah who became the “evil angel” of all sailors. Due to this, sailors with the name “Jonah” were bad luck to have abroad.

Upon death, a wicked sailor’s body supposedly went to Davy Jones’ locker (a chest, as lockers were back then), but a pious sailor’s soul went to Fiddler’s Green (in maritime folklore it is a kind of afterlife for sailors who have served at least 50 years at sea).

At Fiddler’s Green, where seamen true
When here they’ve done their duty
The bowl of grog shall still renew
And pledge to love and beauty.

Dolphins and albatrosses were said to be the reincarnated souls of dead sailors; and sailors could not kill either of them. 

Mermaids & Mermen

The legend of the mermaid, a creature with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish, has circulated the worlds oceans as far back as 5,000 B.C.

One of the earliest scientific accounts of the mermaid was documented by the great historian Pliny The Elder in 586 A.D. Pliny the Elder was convinced of the existence of mermaids and described them as “rough and scaled all over.” Since that time, and well before, thousands of sailors across the globe have reported seeing mermaids swimming off the bows of their ships. Even the famous Christopher Columbus reported an encounter with a mermaid; in January of 1493 Columbus reported that he saw three mermaids fin the ocean just off Haiti.

Mermaids were often considered lucky, but not universally. In Trinidad and Tobago, sea-dwelling mermen “were known to grant a wish, transform mediocrity into genius and confer wealth and power." Mermaids appear in British folklore as unlucky omens, both foretelling disaster and provoking it.

Sailors would look for mermaid’s purses (the egg case of a skate, ray or shark; one of the most common objects washed up on the sea) on beaches for signs of mermaids in the area.


Traditionally, a type of kobold, a Klabautermann, lives aboard ships and helps sailors and fishermen on the Baltic or North Sea in their duties. He is a merry and diligent creature, with an expert understanding of most watercraft, and an unsupressable musical talent. He also rescues sailors washed overboard. The belief in Klabautermanns dates to at least the 1770s.

A carved Klabautermann image, of a small sailor dressed in yellow with a tobacco pipe and wooden sailor’s cap, often wearing a caulking hammer, is attached to the mast as a symbol of good luck

However, despite the positive attributes, there is one omen associated with his presence: no member of a ship blessed by his presence shall ever set eyes on him; he only ever becomes visible to the crew of a doomed ship.

More recently, the Klabautermann is sometimes described as having more sinister attributes, and blamed for things that go wrong on the ship. This incarnation of the Klabautermann is more demon- or goblin-like, prone to play pranks and, eventually, doom the ship and her crew. This deterioration of image probably stems from sailors, upon returning home, telling stories of their adventures at sea.

Sailor Tattoos

Sailors believed that certain symbols and talismans would help them in when facing certain events in life; they thought that those symbols would attract good luck or bad luck in the worst of the cases:

Sailors, at the constant mercy of the elements, often feel the need for religious images on their bodies to appease the angry powers that caused storms and drowning far from home.

The images of a pig and a hen were good luck; both animals are not capable of swimming, but they believed that God would look down upon a shipwreck and see an animal not capable of swimming and would take them into his hand and place them on land. Sailors had the belief that by wearing the North Star, this symbol would help them to find his or her way home.

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship  that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. The myth is likely to have originated from 17th-century nautical folklore. The oldest extant version dates to the late 18th century. Sightings in the 19th and 20th centuries reported the ship to be glowing with ghostly light. If hailed by another ship, the crew of the Flying Dutchman will try to send messages to land, or to people long dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is a portent of doom.

 Some say that The Flying Dutchman was used for piracy and was loaded with gold and other loot. While travelling with a load of treasure, unspeakable crimes were committed on board the ship, thus making it cursed forever.

"originally a vessel loaded with great wealth, on board of which some horrid act of murder and piracy had been committed” and that the apparition of the ship “is considered by the mariners as the worst of all possible omens.

Other variations of the legend say that the Captain of The Flying Dutchman refused to go to port in the face of a horrible storm and as a result the entire ship perished. Others claim that the ship was not called The Flying Dutchman - that instead it was the name of the captain of the ship. Eventually, as people passed the legend down through the generations, the story of The Flying Dutchman referred to the ship.


Bad luck:

  • No bananas on board -  At the height of the trading empire between Spain and the Caribbean in the 1700’s, most cases of disappearing ships happened to be carrying a cargo of bananas at the time.
  • No women on board - Women were said to bring bad luck on board because they distracted the sailors from their sea duties. This kind of behaviour angered the intemperate seas that would take their revenge out on the ship. However, images of naked women were carved onto the bow of the ship because the woman’s bare breasts  "shamed the stormy seas into calm" and her open eyes guided the seamen to safety.
  • No whistling on board - Mariners have long held the belief that whistling or singing into the wind will “whistle up a storm”.
  • Deathly lexis - At sea, some words must be strictly avoided to ensure the ship and crew’s safe return. These include obvious ones like “drowned” and “goodbye”. If someone says “good luck” to you, it is sure to bring about bad luck. The only way to reverse the curse is by drawing blood.
  • Lurking sharks - A shark following the ship is a sign of inevitable death.
  • Unlucky days:
    - Fridays: Fridays have long been considered unlucky days, likely because Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday.
    - Thursdays: Thursdays are bad sailing days because that is Thor’s day, the god of thunders and storms.
    - First Monday in April: The first Monday in April is the day Cain slew Abel.
    - Second Monday in August: The second Monday in August is the day the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
    Superstitious sailor believed that the only good day to sail on was sundays.
  • Changing the name of the boat - Boats develop a life and mind of their own once they are named and Christened. If you do rename the boat- you absolutely must have a de-naming ceremony. This ceremony can be performed by writing the current boat name on a piece of paper, folding the paper and placing it in a wooden box then burning the box. After, the ashes were scooped up and thrown into the sea.
  • Red heads - Red heads were thought to bring bad luck to a ship if you happened to encounter one before boarding. However, if you speak to the redhead before they get the chance to speak to you, it is cancelled out.

Good luck:

  • It is good luck to spit in the ocean before you sail.
  • Coins thrown into the sea as a boat leaves port is a small toll to Neptune, the sea god, for a safe voyage.
  • Horseshoes on a ship’s mast will turn away a storm.
  • Cats brought luck. If a ship’s cat came to a sailor, it meant good luck.
  • Pouring wine on the deck will bring good luck on a long voyage.
  • It is often considered lucky to touch the collar of a sailor’s suit.

“Jeez, Kid…” Often times It’s impossible to navigate the stormy seas of friendship because the other “ships” don’t want you in their waters. When you don’t know what is happening, or why it’s happening, Aspies make assumptions to fill in those gaps. When that happens, you often end up with heartbreaking moments like this.

Don’t forget to support my work on: PATREON.COM/IRISHWOLFPRODUCTIONS

My need for resolution and communication resulted in this little reunion one shot. 1.5k, totally not spec fic because we’d never see Emma and Killian actually in bed together lol

The night doesn’t seem so still during a thunderstorm, the rain cascading down and thudding against the roof as the wind blows the trees in the front yard. Emma watches the storm from the window seat in the bedroom, eyes widening every so often at the flash of lightening before the deep crack of thunder rumbles seconds later. She looks over at Killian sleeping in their bed, undisturbed by the storm. He’s probably slept through a lot worse on the Jolly, the ship jostled violently by the stormy seas. She had been caught in a storm many times in her life too, mostly during the days when she didn’t have a safe and decent place to dry off and stay warm.

Despite the chill of the night that sends a shiver through her, something burns in her chest and settles low in her belly, a heat that can only be stoked by desire. Emma smiles to herself, sucking in her bottom lip as she recalls the way Killian kissed her goodnight, his lips lingering by hers a moment after to whisper his words of love before settling down to sleep beside her.

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