Crossing the Line

So we crossed the equator in the middle of the night. Then the day started with a message under the door waiting for each of us polliwogs when we woke up. Unworthy people (polliwogs) had crossed the equator without asking permission. King Neptune and his consort will be on the ship at 12:30 p.m. today to sit in judgment of their worthiness to continue. (Not the voyage—life). Be sure that you polliwogs are on Aloha aft to greet him or risk being thrown into the sea. Signed: The Shellbacks.

So after an early lunch, there we were lined up along the aft rail in shorts and bathing suits waiting to see what would happen. DrummersFirst it was bongo drums played at an incredible volume so you couldn’t think. Then a whole orchestra of the crew came on to the deck making even more of a din. 2neptunesmusic.JPGDevils with red hair and dirty faces shouted at us. Finally, a skeleton in a pirate outfit started making threats.

At last King Neptune (Kim Newman who arranges trips in port) and his Queen (Derek Shaw, one of the teachers) appeared and marched around the deck to the awful din. 3kingneptunequeen.JPGThey then proceeded up to the Lido deck and seated themselves under a canopy at the pool. We polliwogs were then instructed to form a single line and climb the steps (ladders) two levels up to Lido. All the time that horrible Pirate was yelling and threatening to eat us!


Finally, I reached to top of the staircase and was met with a fire hose soaking through my clothes to my skin. Luckily, I’d decided to wear a bathing suit under my shorts and top. First, we went by a seaman who had a barrel of what he described as dissolved fish guts. A pitcher of that mess was poured on each of our heads and down our backs. It smelled awful. Then the line went by a large fish which we had to kiss. It was a real fish, recently thawed. Some of the polliwogs got quite friendly with it, but I kept contact to a minimum .

After that, we had to march by the King and Queen and kiss his ring. And “he” decided whether we were worthy to continue the voyage or whether the Pirate could feed us to his favorite fishies. Well, all were considered worthy, marked with a painted smear on the forehead, and thrown into the swimming pool. I got there pretty early, so the water was only faintly milky. By the time David (the Pirate) was thrown in, it was deeply opaque and besides the fish had been thrown in as well. He lost part of his rig (a shawl) which was apparently found at the bottom of the pool. It’s now been sent for bleaching, since the pirate hat ran blue all over it.


So when it was over I went back to the room to try to clean up. I was sticky all over and my hair was stiff as a board. I later realized that what they had thrown on us was flour and water (in other words pancake batter) and when we stood around I in the sun, it baked. I was peeling off bread crumbs for hours. I tried to take a shower, but apparently the entire supply of cold water on the ship had been used to soak us. The shower was running boiling even at the lowest setting.

What a day! They say we will receive certificates—well we earned them!

This entry was posted in At sea and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.