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!