Location: The Equator

Today was a very special, transformative day for us here on Argo. My watch team, the best watch team, watch team 3, had the 0800-1200 watch this morning, and it was during this fabulous, sunny, flat, and calm watch that we crossed the Equator! That’s right, 0, the center of the earth. There are many old sailor traditions concerning the crossing of the equator and her eon Argo; we like to observe a few of them. As other watch teams began to wake up, we were entertained and alarmed by some crazy costumes. Frankie and Niko dressed up as each other, Louis and Natalie dressed up as Tim and Lolo, but perhaps the most eery was Felipe and Thea, who dressed as each other. For those of you who do not know Felipe, he takes his sun protection very seriously and is thus usually wearing long sleeves, a hat that covers his face and neck, a buff over his face, and sunglasses. Well, let me tell you, with all of that usual attire on, Thea did a very convincing job of looking like Felipe. Basically, I saw Felipe dressed in Thea’s leggings and flannel, but then I also saw Felipe walking towards me with his own clothes. Turns out it was Thea under all of that. Around 11:30, as we carefully watched the GPS for the 000.000′ mark, I went and woke everyone else up so they could come on deck for the momentous event. The sea was so flat and calm that Tim surprised the crew with the news that we could SWIM across the equator!! Everyone was thrilled because it’s not every day that we can do ocean swims, but to actually swim across the equator is just incredible. I have crossed the equator on Argo once before, but we crossed the mark in the middle of the night, so swimming wasn’t exactly an option. But THIS TIME it was! And it was a refreshing, invigorating experience. All of the students went into the water as smelly pollywogs and came out as shellbacks.

After we dried off and had a delicious brunch of homemade french toast from Riley and his galley squad, the equator ceremony began. Everyone was invited in front of Neptune’s court to be tried for their “crimes” and make an offering to Neptune as punishment. The crimes ranged from practicing the sacred art of breath-holding to confusing the gulls with loud laughter to startling the Christmas tree worms. The punishments were wide-ranging as well, including things like shaving their head (don’t worry, it was voluntary), eating spicy peanut butter, or bathing in the dishy pit. Lots of laughs were had by all as they watched their friends do funny and only slightly embarrassing punishments to entertain Neptune and his court.

After the equator ceremony, the students partook in deck showers to wash off the dishy bathwater, glitter, cologne, etc., and we had a hearty dinner to round out the day. We’re seeing beautiful stars now, with the milky way reflected in the calm waters. All of us shellbacks are looking forward to our arrival in the Galapagos tomorrow morning!

Current position:
0006.99’S x 8901.28’W

Swimming across the equator!
Niko and Frankie as Frankie and Niko
Felipe and Thea as Thea and Felipe
Louis and Natalie as Tim and Lolo
Some of Neptune’s court attendants
Natalie getting her pigtails cut in preparation for shaving her head!