I have been reading a bunch of Carl Barks' magnificent Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories lately and one thing that caught my attention was how many of his tales either took place on ships, or featured a long voyage. There are a number of possible reasons for this. For one thing, ships offer plenty of danger, from shipwrecks to storms to pirates. Plus, his stories frequently featured worldwide travel and it is easy to forget in the jet age, but ships represented the most common transport across the world's oceans well into the 1950s. For example, when my parents returned from Germany in 1955 with baby Pat in tow, it was on an ocean liner.
I first noticed this theme while reading a couple of Uncle Scrooge stories, which take place almost entirely onboard. The Flying Dutchman, from Uncle Scrooge #25 (shown here as reprinted in US #87):
But the coincidence of reading those stories aside, once I started looking into it, I was surprised I hadn't noticed it earlier, because Barks went with nautical stories from the word go. Indeed, the very first Barks' Donald Duck adventure was Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold from Four Color #9 (2nd series), and the first glimpse we get of the title character is here: