Today (1 Feb 18) at 1:15am we officially crossed the Equator and entered the southern hemisphere. In the old pirate days there was a ceremony to see if those who had never done so were worthy to continue over the Equator and serve. Those who had not crossed the line before were Pollywogs and only after surviving the ceremony would they become Shellbacks, the name given to those who have crossed the Equator.
Normally, the ceremony would take place just before crossing the line so King Neptune would grant permission to cross but today we held the ceremony at 11:00am after we were a number of nautical miles south by then. In the past, with pirates, the ceremony was rather more than a simple initiation. Nothing like that was done at today’s ceremony but it did get rather messy for the volunteers who offered to stand as proxies for everyone else.
King Neptune and his wife and daughter presided and each volunteer was serenaded by all the attending guests with the song “What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor” with verses specifically worded to indicate what would happen to that guest. As the song was cumulative, the first Pollywog got the first test and the last Pollywogs got all of the tests. As you can guess, the area got messy with these verses…
- Dunk him in Slop until he’s sober,
- Break a bunch of Eggs inside his trousers,
- Give a little shower with a Cup of Flour,
- Make them gleam with Whipped Cream,
- Make them look Rasta with some Pasta, and, finally,
- Make them really mellow with some Jello.
The attached photos show the royal court and the result of all verses applied to the last three volunteers.
We are all now Shellbacks by proxy for attending the ceremony. I’m guessing, had they known what to expect (they were not told the gory details in advance), there might have been a few fewer volunteers. 🙂 But all were good sports.
Rest of today and tomorrow at sea and then Samoa. We got our Fiji lecture today; cannibals to look forward to if we misbehave. 🙂