Blog Entry #18: Neptune Day: Equator & Equinox
Thursday, September 22, 2011
|Neptune and his Court|
Our first day out of Ghana, many of us on the ship passed a milestone: crossing the equator for the first time on a ship. Even more special, we crossed 0 degrees Latitude (the Equator) at roughly 0 degrees Longitude: on the Greenwich, England Longitude line which runs through Tema, Ghana, and divides the world into Eastern and Western hemispheres. And what’s more, we crossed almost exactly at the Equinox, so we went from the last days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, to the last days of Winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and we are now enjoying the first days of Spring as we approach Capetown; Autumn got eliminated entirely this year! (we’ll pick it up again when we cross the Equator again in a few weeks on our way to India).
Celebrated as “Neptune Day” on the ship, we were greeted early in the morning by raucous sounds from the ship hallways where the crew members were dressed in various aquatic costumes and ringing bells and playing instruments to rouse us from our slumber.
We were to report immediately to the pool area of Deck 7 where most of us were to lose our ignominious status as “Pollywogs” – ones who have never crossed the Equator at Sea – to Shellbacks – tried and true ocean voyagers.
|Baptized with Fish Guts from the Crew|
|Will Avery kisses the Fish!|
There at Poolside King Neptune had assembled his court, and he directly his orderly to baptize each of us by pouring fish guts over our heads (ugh), then dunking in the pool.
|Waves reach our cabin window|
We are only 12 hours away from landing in Capetown, South Africa! My only other visit to Capetown was in 1992 when apartheid was still the law of the land. I look forward to being back and seeing what changes have occurred 17 years after South Africa first elected Nelson Mandela and began democratic government.