The pollywogs await their trial in King Neptune's Court
We successfully crossed the equator with traditional shipboard pomp and ceremony aboard the RCS. We had discussed the crossing in class back at Hopkins, but the reality of tropical breezes, a hot day, 15-20 knot winds and a ship full of traditions wowed the pollywogs (those who have not been across the equator).
King Neptune and his Court prepare for the crossing ceremony
The pollywogs were treated quite fairly by the experienced shellbacks, led by the Court of King Neptune (Rob Dunbar), Neptune’s wife (Boris Worm) and the Bayliff (our second mate Sully). After a speedy and unsuccessful legal trial for all 25 pollywogs (defended by the lawyers Barb and Liz), the crew, led by James, Mack, Anna and Erin, provided the traditional ceremonial crossing the line shipboard fun. All the pollywogs successfully made it across, solemnly promised to protect and conserve the oceans, and became shellbacks. Many aboard shaved their heads in traditional styles for first time crossings of the equator as final tributes to Neptune. Enthusiasm could not have been higher aboard the ship as we all enjoyed the day together.
We’re sailing in the Northern hemisphere now, the big dipper in front of us guiding us each night, the southern cross behind; with a fast breeze - speeds up to 8 knots - under starlit skies and a bright sliver of a moon. Once again- the rolling seas, the gorgeous weather, and the grace of a tall ship under a bright night sky has captured the imagination of another generation of sailors here in the Pacific at 0° latitude. I myself enjoy the solitude of a bow watch, where you stand alone scanning the horizon for ships or obstacles, but primarily you are vividly aware of your presence on this ship sailing within a huge sea, the sounds of the riggings and the beauty of the sails against the nighttime sky- an awesome place to be.
-Dr. Barbara Block