03 May 2017

Nights Like This With the Moon Above

I’ve got a whale of a tale to tell you, lads. Well, maybe it’s not as far-fetched as all that after all. For those of you that frequent Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto in the Polynesian Village Resort, you know that the dive is a veritable treasure trove of artifacts. If you’re not familiar with the water hole, I suggest you right that wrong just as soon as you can. Some of the items that have been left behind or donated to Trader Sam are easy to spot and easy to identify their origin, while others, like the subject of today’s article, take a bit more work.

This lovely handcrafted guitar sits in the peak of the rafters, directly above the bar. Besides the awkward angle of having to position yourself just right to grab a snapshot of this item, you also have to contend with the mood lighting of the room. All of this is to say that unless you want to be called out as a flasher, I wouldn’t use your flash to try and get a photo of this guitar. I also wouldn’t try and use my phone in a busy bar like the Grog Grotto, but that’s a story for another day.

So, why is this turtle shell guitar so important? It comes to Trader Sam courtesy of Ned Land. Ned is portrayed by Kirk Douglas in the classic Disney film adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He is a sailor and master harpooner who heads out on the frigate Abraham Lincoln to see if he can’t capture the sea monster that has been destroying ships in the open sea. It is after the Abraham Lincoln is attacked that he, along with Professor Pierre Aronnax and Conseil, are left adrift in the ocean only to come upon the manmade monstrosity, the Nautilus. From here on, let’s just say that Ned and the Nautilus’ captain, Nemo, are not very friendly.

We’re drifting away from the guitar now, aren’t we?

Amongst his other skills, Ned is also proficient with the guitar and has his favorite song to sing with other sailors to pass the time. You guessed it, A Whale of a Tale. After the Abraham Lincoln is destroyed, Ned is left without his guitar. During his time aboard the Nautilus, Ned is able to craft a makeshift guitar utilizing a turtle’s shell. You would think this willingness to adapt to the lifestyle of using what the sea has provided would ingratiate Ned to Nemo, but such is not the case. While Ned does use the guitar to entertain himself and others, particular the sea lion, Esmerelda, he also uses it to try and steal some of the treasures that Nemo uses for ballast.

In the end, Ned, along with Conseil, Aronnax, and Esmerelda are able to escape and once more rejoin the world of men. Whether Ned left this guitar with Trader Sam as payment after a night of frivolity, accidentally left it behind, or gifted it to another storied traveler is hard to say. What I can say is that it is good to see it given such a place of honor in the Grog Grotto. Keep an eye out for it on your next visit.

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