Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Adeymius
Back in the day, seafaring lads were no stranger to the sight of a dead albatross on a ship. Which oftentimes meant horrific bad luck and uneasy seas abroad. But then again so does bad weather before you leave shore with a faulty sail or engine. So what do bananas on the boat mean? And what does an albatross have to do with it? Old silly nautical nonsense, folklore of a certain “peel,” one should throw caution to the wind.
From the late 1600s to the early 1700s, many ships disappeared and were lost at sea. Others told of tales such as ships’ disappearances because of bananas and the records and ship manifest state the items in question were on board the vessels. And, it was the fact that they became rotten. Rotten bananas meant simply one equation only, no food which then led to misery and hunger. Unable to fish due to starvation and foul bananas meant bad luck for the ship’s crew.
Many other tall tales such as the “no women allowed on a ship,” were a very popular superstition. Having a woman on board for sailors in that time frame meant uncertainty for sure. It brought about jealousy amongst the men and distraction from the duties of the ship that needed tending to.
Another superstition was using foul language at sea. While seamen were notorious for their use of language there were just some keywords that were avoided at all costs. Using words that involved anything with the land was such.
Saying Goodbyes and Cats
Goodbyes, good luck, and a wife chasing after her husband after leaving spelled certain doom for the ship. While these remained true to their beliefs having a cat was a very good gesture. Cats on board was a very good omen. Many sailors looked to these animals for inspiration and some guidance for sailing. Some believed when a cat sneezed or licked its tail it meant something about the change in weather. Others also believed when a cat turned away from a sailor it was a bad omen and many did their best to keep the cat fed.
There are many other great superstitions out there that some still believe to this day and hold fast to their worth. If you’ve been on a boat or ship, what’s your go-to superstition, or have you heard of any?