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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Which are you?

Day 29/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Day 3 of 6 at sea

Today is the big day! At 11pm this evening we will cross the Equator and be in the Southern Hemisphere.

We spent a very quiet morning deck walking against gale force winds and then reading in the Explorer’s Lounge on Deck 7, before our team joined us for Team Trivia, which we again fell short by 3 points of winning! Yeesh..

The big excitement of course today was the ‘Crossing the Line Ceremony’ which was being held at 2pm on the Pool Deck on 7. People arrive quite early on the ship for everything, so despite arriving at 1:45pm there was no where to sit, so we stood off to the side of the pool, where we saw that Cruise Director Bruce was going to be letting us know what was going to happen at 2pm.

According to old tradition, all those crossing the equator by sea for the first time, must be baptized and thus made an able-bodied seaman. After the ceremony, the newly baptized will be awarded a Crossing the Line Certificate stating his or her name and the date of the "baptismal ceremony". The Master makes his confirmation by signing the certificate.

Organized Line Baptism dates as far back as the 1520’s and, apart from local varieties, you can find the ceremony described in a number of navy and merchant fleets world-wide. Originally, the equatorial baptism was a kind of consecration of the Seamen's profession, and could at times be rather wild. Gradually it has evolved into a merry joke for everyone on board, whether one is a sailor or a passenger.

The ceremony of ‘Crossing the Line’ involves either a ‘slimy pollywog’ who has never crossed the Equator or a ‘trusty shellback’ who has crossed the Equator. When a ship crosses the equator, King Neptune comes aboard to exercise authority over his domain and to judge charges brought against Pollywogs that they are only posing as sailors and haven't paid proper homage to the god of the sea.

High ranking members of the crew and those who have been Shellbacks the longest dress up in elaborate costume and each play the part of King Neptune's court. For instance, the ship's captain might play the part of King Neptune himself. What proceeds is a day of festivities, which builds camaraderie among the seafaring crew.

Today for the festivities, the crew members on the Viking Neptune from each of the various departments on the ship who have never crossed the Equator before were going to be transformed from ‘slimy pollywogs’ to ‘trusty shellbacks’ by: 1) saluting the fish; 2) hearing the charges brought against them which Bruce would read out against each department’s staff; 3) charged as ‘GUILTY’ by the Guests, and senior leadership on the Ship; 4) submersed in the pool; 5) given a drink of Aquavit to proclaim they were now ‘trusty Shellbacks’. Some of the charges laid against the staff were quite funny including: Housekeeping: were accused of making the bed so tight that when a new couple boarded the Neptune for the World Cruise, they found the last couple still in their cabin, unable to get out of the bed! Excursions: were accused of advising a couple that had missed getting back to the ship on time to take a photo of the ship sailing off into the sunset, because it makes a great postcard! Bar Staff: were accused of giving someone with a bladder urgency problem a glass of PEE NO MORE wine! It went on and on with Bruce coming up with funny charges for each department until all of the staff who had been slimy pollywogs were finally transformed into trusty shellbacks.

The Senior Leadership of the ship pronouncing the slimy pollywogs as GUILTY!

An action shot of the slimy pollywogs jumping into the pool to become shellbacks.

Once the staff were all out of the pool, the guests who had never crossed the equator before by sea, were encouraged to join in the fun, jump in the pool and have a glass of Aquavit. Unfortunately many of the guests were jumping in the pool, while the staff were still not out of the pool, and with that many bodies in the pool, I didn’t feel comfortable jumping into the pool (safety first with a former broken femur), so Richard and me went to the aft Infinity pool, where there was no one there and I jumped into the pool and Richard captured my transformation from slimy pollywog to trusty shellback! (Since Richard had already been on a ship crossing the equator many years ago, he did not need to jump in the pool, since he is already a trusty shellback!)

Jumping in to transform from a slimy pollywog to a trusty shellback!

The pool was beautiful and warm too!

The infinity pool on the aft deck 7 really is amazing!

Ah the fun and traditions we have at sea! So which are you? A slimy pollywog or a trusty shellback?! I am sure everyone reading this blog that is on next year’s World Cruise will now know what they are in for; so be ready to jump in the pool for your transformation!

Art class was a free period to finish anything we had not finished yet, so I was able to get my ’Crossing the Line‘ pop up card finished and my official certificate glued to the back of the card. What a fun project to work on!

Crossing the Line card. I chose to draw my own scene on the front of the card. The font I found online was called “piratus” so I thought it was a very appropriate nautical themed font with lines through the letters, rather than drawing a line on the card for the equator.

King Neptune (Buddha). He doesn’t look like anyone I know…how ’bout you?

And now I am officially a Shellback! My card proves it!

Later in the afternoon while we were watching the Port Talk for Bora, Bora, which will be our next port of call, we received a gift from the Captain and General Manager.

Two signed ‘Crossed the Equator’ certificate with our names on them. How cool is that? We have put the certificates in a safe place to keep them flat so we can frame them at some point to remember this special day.

We enjoyed a nice Mexican themed meal this evening at The Chef’s Table with Mike & Sharon, followed by an amazing concert by Nashville guest artist Cyndi Wheeler who did Award winning Grammy nominated songs. Her concert, which we went to see live in the Star Theatre was amazing and it was a nice way to close out a memorable day at sea.

We have 3 more sea days before we get to Bora Bora, but with port talks for Bora Bora today, Moorea tomorrow, and Tahiti the next day, we are starting to get very excited about the adventures we have planned while we are in each of these islands in French Polynesia. Because we booked our excursions so long ago, with only the smallest of descriptions that was provided on the MY VIKING JOURNEY portal, it is now very exciting to hear more details and see photos of what we will actually be doing on the excursion. I think we are really going to love what we chose and the excursions will be very unique, experiences!

And now it is officially after 11pm our time and we have crossed the Equator into the Southern Hemisphere! Woohoo! The strange thing is if you look at a map of where we are going, we actually cross back and forth across the dateline in the next few days. I am trying to post the photo of the map of our route we were given by Viking but the internet has gone again. Oh my! Let’s hope I can get this blog posted!

Hopefully your blog reading journey across the Equator today was as fun as it was for us!

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20 Oca 2023

Loved todays post. Congrats

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