If you have ever worked, lived or played on a boat that crossed a landmark latitudinal or longitudinal line, you will recall the significance of the event. Whether it is the polar circles, the equator or the date line it is considered a milestone event and veteran seafarers take it pretty seriously. Meaning, they like to hold it over the newbies when it comes time for initiation. When I crossed the Antarctic Circle, as a polliwog, I had to participate in a initiation ceremony including a practiced skit to entertain King Neptune, some of the guys were given less than favorable haircuts, we had to crawl though a weeks' worth of garbage and at the end of the garbage line we had to eat a maraciano cherry out of the belly button of a very hairy marine engineer! I still have nightmares, but let me tell you, the next year when it was my turn to organize, I was not any kinder! It is a rite of passage and everyone has to participate. Michael and I both crossed the equator as neophytes, so we simply toasted King Neptune, dumped a bucket of equatorial water over our heads, and called it good. This time, since we are shellback's and the kids are the polliwogs, we plan to make them understand the full importance of the event. We've got a whole ceremony lined up for them including a swim across the equator as the GPS rolls 00.
Fast forward two hours and we have 5 shellback's aboard. Our polliwogs were thrilled with the idea of a swim call and after they reluctantly kissed King Neptune's pet squid, got a pie in the face and threw a lock of hair over to the sea gods they anxiously jumped in the water and literally swam over the equator towards summer in the Southern Hemisphere. All three kids are totally comfortable swimming in water where the closest land is 4000 feet below you. They dive down under the keel, cannonball off the bow and give me a near heart attack while I do shark watch. Zander has become a really avid free diver and he can stay underwater for a minute and a half at a time. It is almost creepy watching him swim under the boat and hover at about 20 feet below the surface, as comfortable down there as if he had gills. He wanted to see how far he could swim straight down, but I vetoed that idea, I have enough gray hairs as it is!
Now that we are in the southern hemisphere, we are very much looking forward to all new adventures under the Southern Cross.
S 00 00
W 088 26
PS Just saw our first red footed booby. Kids are excited, that is a first for all of us.