Mythical Monday: The Cavern of the Sea by Mae Clair

bigstock-Vintage-compass-quill-pen-sp-45049453With the release of TWELFTH SUN hovering around the corner, I’m in a nautical frame of mind. Is it any wonder, given my contemporary romance/mystery centers around the treasure hunt for a marine artifact from a doomed 18th century schooner? (Release date: August 5th. How’s that for a blatant plug? 🙂 ).

In my fictional universe, the Twelfth Sun spawns mystery and debate. No one is really certain what caused her to wreck, a fate that has plagued numerous vessels in our own reality. Countless ships have been lost in the Bermuda triangle, but other watery haunts have claimed vessels as well. Here are just a few ships that have vanished without a trace:

The HMS Terror and HMS Erebus vanished in 1847 during an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage

The SS Waratah, which disappeared between Durban and Cape Town in 1909

The USS Grampus was lost near the Solomon Islands, 1943

Baychimo, lost in 1969 in the waters off Alaskan coast

Patanella, last seen somewhere off Sydney Harbour in 1988

The Genesis, a cargo ship, lost April 23, 1999

The Jupiter 6, a tug boat which vanished while towing a bulk carrier off the coast of India, September 30, 2005

What explanation can be given to these strange disappearances and others? How can a full-sized vessel vanish without a trace, never to be seen again?

There is an old legend about a repository deep in the bowels of the ocean that is the final resting place of vessels that mysteriously vanish. A graveyard of ships hidden beneath the waves. Because the Cavern of the Sea is able to shift from ocean to ocean, it has never been found. Some believe waterspouts are an indication it lies somewhere below. These whirling funnels vacuum water into the air in order to create a mammoth hollow cavity beneath the surface.

Shipwreck Beneath the Sea

That cavity — the Cavern of the Sea – connects to a lake carved into a mountaintop in Portugal. When a ship vanishes, there is a short period during which searchers may find the answers to its disappearance.

A few months after it was last seen, the vessel will materialize on the lake, along with its crew. Anyone waiting on the shore may ask questions about its disappearance and the crew must answer truthfully, relaying the details. The ship will not remain long, however, and will return to the Cavern of the Sea, where it will remain until the end of time.

This is one of those weird legends that fascinate me. I’ve incorporated pieces of it into my current WIP, a novella, tentatively titled Solstice Island (poll coming on that shortly!).

So what do you think? Are you captivated by nautical folklore or do you prefer the landlubber variety? Have you ever wanted to go on a search for buried treasure or a missing ship? Is there a particular legend associated with the sea that resonates strongly with you?

I love hearing from you! Tell me what you think!

30 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Cavern of the Sea by Mae Clair

  1. I don’t know much about legends of missing ships, but once I got to visit the USS Lexington, which is dry docked in Corpus Christi, Texas. The ship is supposedly full of ghosts, and many stories tell of visitors seeing a blond sailor who died decades before. One woman woke to him putting her shoes on the end of her bed. He berated some kids for running on deck. And, if I recall the stories correctly, he once helped a boy who fell and hurt himself. Supposedly too, the night watchman prefers not to step foot onboard after dark. And there is a tale of two lovers who each jumped into the vats of molten metal ready to be cast into the two anchors of the ship. The anchors sit on display now, but over time, they move toward each other. Even though the ground between has been examined to confirm it did not slant them in that directions and the anchors are periodically shifted back to their original positions, they still, inch by inch, creep closer together.


  2. This is fascinating — and shiver-inducing! And Laura’s stories about the anchors are making me feel the same way. I love how legends try to give us a way to make sense of the unexplainable, and usually in a romanticized fashion. 🙂 As for TWELFTH SUN, I’m so glad it’s almost August 5th!


    • Hi, Donna. There’s just *something* about old nautical tales and ghost ships. I stumbled over the Cavern of the Sea a few years ago while researching information for a short story and it always stuck in my mind. It really makes you think about all those ships that just vanish.

      And, YES!! I am totally jazzed by TWELFTH SUN’S release looming around the corner. I really got to play around with my love of mystery in that one!


  3. The release date is so close! You’re welcome to do something on my blog, Mae. Maybe a short intro to the book and yourself, and we could feature the cover, links, blurb etc. Just pop me an email if you’d like to, for any date in August.
    I always wanted to be part of The Goonies and go search for One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship. The pic of the ship at the bottom of the ocean is beautiful!


    • Thanks so much, Emma! A feature on your blog sounds awesome!! I’ll shoot you an email 🙂

      Oooh, I forgot about The Goonies. That was a fun movie and adventure!

      Glad you liked the ocean pic. It seemed a good fit with the legend of the Cavern of the Sea.


  4. I love these dark tales! I haven’t heard of a lot of the tales you highlight and they fascinate me. Maybe this Cavern legend will turn up on Ancient Aliens. 😉 As for the Bermuda Triangle, when we flew back from Bermuda in the spring, there was something wrong with the navigation / communications equipment… and all I could think about was the legends about the triangle and mysterious disappearances.


    • Oh, wow, Lorraine. I would have been on edge knowing the navigation/communication equipment went wonky over the triangle! How bizarre too, because that’s exactly what you hear of happening in that area of sea. So glad you made it through safely.

      And I’m delighted you’re enjoying the legends I rummage up. Now if I could just interest Ancient Aliens, LOL!


  5. Okay, its’s almost 10:30pm but I had to stop by. This is one of my favorite blogs. And to answer your question, Mae, I love nautical folklore. I am a sailor, not just at heart, but have sailed around Ireland, the Irish sea and the English Channel amongst other watery highways, most often on a 38 Sigma. One of my favorite books is Moby Dick. Seriously. What is the quote? “Place a man upon his feet and set him walking and inevitably he will lead himself to water.” If not that, I’d be close! 🙂


    • HI, Cd! Aww, I am so pleased you made a point to stop by my blog despite the time. I loved hearing how much you enjoy my Mythical Mondays!

      And wow, you really ARE a sailor. You should share some of your adventures on your blog. I’d love to read about them. You’ve sailed some amazing waterways. My brother and his wife are addicted to sailing. They even spent several months living on their boat as they sailed down the intercoastal waterway. I had to look up a 38 Sigma and now I’m REALLY jealous, LOL. Gorgeous!!

      Thanks so much for sharing!! 🙂


  6. Hi Mae, that’s a fascinating legend. I’d never heard it before. I like to watch the underwater treasure hunt documentaries, like Mel Fisher’s hunt for the Atocha. He may have found an unbelievable treasure, but he paid a high price in the loss of his son and daughter-in-law.

    Great way to introduce your next release!


    • Hi, Christy. It’s lovely to see you here. I love underwater documentaries, but was unfamiliar with Mel Fisher’s hunt. What a terrible price to pay, although I imagine his son and daughter-in-law were doing what they love. BTW, the Cavern of the Sea legend shows up in our novella! 🙂


    • LOL, I just watched Snarknado and loved it! So bad it’s good. But I’m terrified of sharks too. I figure it’s safer to write about underwater adventure than live it!


  7. Well… you know me.,.. I love those legends! Would I want to go look for one? You know… I just might… good post Mae!


  8. Interesting! Solstice Island, huh? Cool! It kind of reminds me of Nora Roberts’ Three Sisters Island series. I loved the mystical in that, though it centered around witches and lore from Salem days. I love mysteries and legends like yours, too.


  9. Mae – I’m intrigued by your upcoming release and maybe it will be just the ticket to get me excited about writing reviews again. I’m still reading but haven’t done much reviewing. I still have a few reviews tucked away. Back to sea legends and all that – Tom loves anything to do with lost treasure and back in the day when he was designing full time he thought nothing of putting down a percentage for funding dives on ships that were lost/buried at sea. I just knew the day would come when he was going to want to dive with the rest of the crew but thankfully he preferred examining what the divers were sending up. Of course he also loves lost treasure lore on land and will spend months studying sites, etc. For me – I’m simple. I prefer to find my treasurers on his jewelers bench:)


    • What a fun reply! Sheri. I remember you mentioning once before about Tom’s love of nautical legend, but I didn’t know about his connection to diving. How exciting it must have been to sort through all those treasures! I can relate to your appreciation of the end result on the jeweler’s bench too 🙂

      I’m so happy to hear you’re looking forward to Twelfth Sun. Lots more mystery this time around and the next one (Eclipse Lake) will reflect that even more. I want to find my footing as a writer and I think it crosses genres!


  10. Twelfth Sun sounds fabulous, Mae. I love nautical legends and stories. I have just finished writing a novel set on the Lusitania – a ship torpedoed by a German U-boat off the Irish coast in 1915 which sunk in 18 minutes killing over 1,000 people. Heart-wrenching story and fascinating to research. Can’t wait to read your book!


    • Thanks, Joanna. I’ve been keeping track of the news on your release too. It appealed to me the moment I heard about it and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for checking out my post!


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