Kinda like the rites of passage I had to go through to be confirmed in the Catholic Church or initiated into my sorority in college, except sans the fish guts and shaving of the head. (Okay- actually nothing like these two events at all, because that would be hazing. But still a rite of passage which earns you new status.)
So we had the ceremonial activities yesterday, but we actually cross the Equator today. I also noticed the ship's position last night was 12 degrees longitude, which puts us pretty close to the Prime Meridian as well. There is a special title for Shellbacks who cross the Equator at that 0 degrees longitude point and that is called Emerald Shellback or Royal Diamond Shellback. I'm not sure if we'll cross exactly at the Prime Meridian or not later today, but we'll be pretty close as we edge in towards Walvis Bay, Namibia.
The navy also has some fraternities when sailors accomplish certain feats. I would be eligible for the following after this voyage:
- The Order of the Golden Dragon for sailors who have crossed the International Date Line. (We will have two April 12ths and two Easter Sundays on this voyage!)
- The Order of the Ditch for sailors who have passed through the Panama Canal.
- The Order of the Rock for sailors who have transited the Strait of Gibralter (done).
- The Emerald Shellback or Royal Diamond Shellback for sailors who cross at 0 0 degrees off the coast of West Africa.
- The Order of Magellan for sailors who circumnavigated the earth.
Here are some photos:
Okay and just for fun, I'll end with a poem, which I have adapted from Desire, by U2. The humid air outside, the sunburned students, the proximity to the Equator, and the desire to finally get to Namibia made me think of this particular song:
Lover, I'm on the sea
Gonna go where the prime meridian And the equator meet
With the Explorer...on fire
She's a vessel sailing in the dark
Yeah I'm like the dolphin, dolphin and shark
Over the railing with the hot sun
Pretty soon everybody got one
And the fever when I'm beside her
And the fever...getting higher
She's got the scholars
She's my protection
Yeah she's a promise
In the year of election
Oh sister, I can't let you go
Like a preacher stealing hearts
At a traveling show
For love or money money money money money money money money money money money And the fever, getting higher Desire, desire, desire, desire Desire, desire
PS- No, I didn't shave my head in case you're wondering. Only my legs.