Crossing the Equator

Phoebe Pereira

While many may assume travel relates to visiting a new place, travel can also relate to a new experience in a different location.  

Having worked the Asian itinerary on a number of occasions, I’ve crossed the equator four or five times as part of my cruise ship experience. Every time this happens, a Crossing the Equator ceremony takes place on the vessel.  

Many of the events which happen on board are based on marine traditions. During the ceremony, ‘pollywogs’ or those new to sea are taken through a ritual where they are promoted to ‘shellback’, an experienced sailor.

King Neptune awaits the start of the Crossing the Equator trial.

King Neptune awaits the start of the Crossing the Equator trial.

After our ship visited Trinidad for the first time on February 8, we began our journey to South America, allowing me another opportunity to cross from the northern into the southern hemisphere.

Although it would make it my fifth or sixth time Crossing the Equator, I never participated in the ceremony before. This time I said to myself “lemme take a chance and say that I did it”.

On February 11, on a bright blue day at sea, King Neptune (the Judge) left his underwater kingdom to visit our ship to put a few ‘troublesome’ seafarers to trial.

As the sun blazed down on the pool deck, the ‘reckless’ crew and guests lined up to face King Neptune in full view of all on the ship. First up to face trial were the guests for their crimes of ‘enjoying’ themselves too much at the buffet and ‘visiting’ other staterooms.

The crew members were next and I was put on trial for giving ‘too much training’ to the crew!

Even though I had seen the ceremony on numerous occassions, I was still a bit hesitant about actually participating as King Neptune’s sentence could be a bit too much to handle at times.

As punishment for our crimes we had to kiss fish (some of us even had to kneel!), while a combination of pastel coloured paste and old spaghetti was dumped on us.

Phoebe is sentenced to kissing fish.

Phoebe is sentenced to kissing fish.

I kept thinking in my head “Phoebe, this is just like Jouvert, you could handle this”. But geez man, the smell was horrible, and I felt like I was smelling ‘fishy’ for the rest of the day.

At 1:47pm, our ship officially crossed from the northern hemisphere into the southern hemisphere. Although I had experienced the Crossing the Equator before, it was my first time doing so on the western hemisphere – sailing from my home land into the next half of the world; to discover another continent that I hadn't been to before.

This particular Crossing the Equator ceremony brought a whole new meaning to my already extensive travel experience, an event that definitely needed to be shared.

The views reflected in this travel log do not necessarily reflect the news of my employers.

 

Phoebe continues to serve her sentence.

Phoebe continues to serve her sentence.

The official Crossing the Equator certificate.

The official Crossing the Equator certificate.