Nationality: United States
Occupation: Yacht Captain
Residence: Huntington Beach
Date of Performance/Collection: 1/25/2020
Primary Language: English
The following was a story told to me by the informant.
“So there is a legend called Davy Jones’s Locker. In reality it is just the bottom of the ocean, some think it is Marianas trench and some just think it is the general bottom. It is where all the shipwrecked sailors and their vessels go to rest. It is where the sailors who die live an afterlife on the sea. While the legend varies, as most sailor stories do, it is largely believed that Jones captains the Flying Dutchman. The Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship whose crew is made up of the sailors who have been laid to rest there. They are forced to sail the seas at night for eternity since they can never ever make port. Going to Davy Jones’s Locker is not the worst thing for a sailor, it’s actually the best death for a sailor outside of dying naturally of old age. It is something sailors are taught about and joke about from their first moments on the sea and it always remains a very realistic possibility that a sailor will end up there”
The informant was a yacht captain for his whole life, like his grandfather. He grew up on the water and he says it is the only way of life he can accept. As a captain, he says there have been many moments in his career sailing the world that he was convinced the sea would indeed send him to Davy Jones and that would be that. Although he was never scared about it, because if that is how he died then that was a death he could accept. He also said his ideal way of being buried is to be put in a bag and thrown over the Marianas trench, so he can spend the rest of eternity in the sea.
The informant is a family member of mine, and I grew up on these legends as my bedtime tales and tall tales over dinner. The story was retold to me by the informant upon my asking for a proper recounting of the story.
I think the concept of Davy Jones’s Locker is a way to keep sailors a little less terrified about what is at the bottom of the ocean. The ocean is dangerous and largely unpredictable for a very long time, even now with technology rogue waves still appear out of nowhere. The concept that there is a resting place for all the lost sailors at sea to continue their passion is not only an ease for them when waters are rough, but also a way for their family members to validate the disappearance as most all shipwrecks at sea are never rediscovered.