Location: Underway to French Guyana
Today started as most do underway with each person’s wake up time is dependent on their watch schedule that day. For watch team two, we started ours at 8 in the morning. Walking up on deck with a beautiful sunrise and a quiet cockpit with Argo under full sail, making over 8 knots was quite amazing. We had a rather busy four hours on deck with not only sail handling and the normal watch duties, but our very own barber, Del cut, shaved, and sculpted multiple people’s hair. Make sure you check out the photos for our new looks! The day continued after lunch with Lexi teaching us how to play Euchre, a typical Midwest card game she learned as a young girl from the salty sailors on the Great Lakes. Next, the student crew had OCE and SLD to finish up their classes for the day.
As we were creeping up in latitude, the long-awaited day had arrived: Equator Crossing Day. If you aren’t aware when a vessel crosses over the equator, a ceremony takes place. It is when those that have never crossed, also known as Pollywogs, become Shellbacks. After class, the students were told to dress to impress King Neptune and his court of dignities as they prepared to cross. They were wearing everything from guys in bikini tops, Speedos, really bright clothing to even flags of home countries being flown. Everyone was invited on deck as we were approaching the final last minutes in the Southern Hemisphere to strut their stuff in front of the court of King Neptune. After the dance moves and model faces of a lifetime were finished, we all piled around Neptune at the helm and watched as we crossed over into the Northern Hemisphere. As we crossed, there was a huge cheer and a sense of accomplishment from the entire crew. Now was the actual ceremony of becoming a Shellback, the students crawled fighting against the fire hose as ‘Davy Jones’, King Neptune’s first assistant, was firing it at them. Afterward, they had to taste Marmite from the Royal Baby and the truth serum from the Royal Barber, finally they reached King Neptune himself. They then had to tell him why they deserved to become a Shellback, and if he agreed, he would then deem them no longer a Pollywog and into the realm of Shellback. It was a great day with a ton of laughter and experienced not too many people in this world will have the chance to accomplish in their lives.
Over 4000 nautical miles have been crossed since we departed in Cape Town, and the bonds and memories that are forming will last a lifetime. It is great to see the smiling faces on the students as we complete another huge milestone on the trip. On to the next one, finally being in the Caribbean.