Monday, 22 December 2014

Across the Line

For the delivery from Cape Verde to Brazil - our longest passage to date, we were joined by our friend Simon. Simon promised to make an appearance as a guest writer on our blog, recapping his first ocean sailing experience. In the meantime I would like to mention a memorable highlight of the trip - crossing the equator!
For centuries, this event had a special significance for every sailor, especially those crossing the line for the first time - a.k.a. the slimy pollywogs (us!). Unexpectedly, it turned out that Simon was a trusty shellback - i.e. someone who has crossed the equator before, and has been subjected to the associated induction ceremony (aged 4). It was thus only natural for him to take charge of the proceedings.

Sailing south was testing - from 40+ knots off Fogo to choosing the best route through the Doldrums and enduring anything from dead calm to thunderstorms, followed by days of non-stop downpour - combined with our other adventures so far, reaching the equator and the South Atlantic felt well deserved.

Unfortunately, it was after sunset - hence no picture of the line itself. However, Neptune keeps a vigilant watch over it, and he made a personal appearance to make sure only the worthy ones cross.
First, each of the pollywogs had to recount what acts of seamenship prove their worth - "Hast thou maintained the intesnity in winds both stormy and light, in seas both hot and freezing?"
This was followed by offerings to the King - a personal gift from each pollywog, as well as a healthy gulp of best Antiguan rum from Auriga (not forgetting a few sips ourselves). Unspeakable acts followed, until finally all joined Neptunes side as trusty shellbacks - free to roam the oceans with His blessing. The weather was indeed kind to us all the way to Brazil - but beware those who anger Neptune by crossing the equator without proper ceremony! (scroll down for more photos)
Tres amigos in Cape Verde (Neptune in civilian)
Our wavy track through the worst of the Doldrums
Matt just can't quit

Neptune makes an appearance
Matt on trial
Bending to Neptunes will
An offering to the King of the Sea
"You poured how much???"
Matt makes an offering - a difficult one to part with
Igors offering - don't ask
"Shave his belly with a rusty razor!"
Eggs - nothing a bucket of sea water can't wash away!
A tattoo to commemorate...
One for Simon, too.

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