Day 4 |
Oct 16, 2010

At Sea

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 02°27’ N, 81°15’ W
Weather: cloudy
Air Temperature: 30 C

Our first sea day after we left Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica. The weather was very much the same as we had the last four days. Cloudy, sometimes rain showers coming down interrupted by some sunrays beaming through the clouds.

The day started as a normal sea day with lectures and wine tasting in the morning. Mr. Lawrence Rudner, our onboard guest lecturer, gave a presentation about “Motions of the Oceans”, discussing in non-technical terms what goes on in the oceans of the world and describing the currents and waves that are affecting the whole world.

At 11.00 o’clock our executive chef Anne-Mari gave a cooking demonstration in the Panorama Lounge. Several guests joined this demonstration and enjoyed it a lot.

The highlight of this day was then definitely at 2 pm, when the Prince Albert II entered the realm of King Neptune. Out on deck, the Expedition Team had prepared an Equator Crossing Ceremony for our guests. Dressed up as Neptune, his wife, his child, a mermaid and pirates, the Expedition Team “prepared” the pollywogs (guests who had never crossed the Equator) to enter the realm of Neptune.

First, the Royal Barber gave them a treatment to appear well shaved and groomed before the King, using egg white and a machete for this procedure. After this, the pollywog had to go through a health check. A King’s Pirate investigated the response to “the rapid introduction of a temperature change” induced by pouring cold water and ice cubes down on the pollywog. The next step was that no starving landlubbers could enter the realm of Neptune, so they were fed spaghetti and eggs by another Pirate.

Prepared like this, the pollywogs had to pay homage to the King and his family. They had to kiss the Queen’s feet, which were covered with ketchup, then kiss the belly of the Royal Baby, which was smeared with mustard, and finally kiss the fish held by the Mermaid. Of course to then enter the kingdom and cross the equator, the pollywog had to be cleaned up and be presentable. This was done with a hose very extensively. Now the former pollywog was allowed to cross the equator and enter the realm. To prevent any sickness the Royal Doctor was waiting with a syringe of Vodka for the new member of the kingdom.

About 10 guests were considered to be pollywogs and brought before the King Neptune, he looked at them and of course decided that they had to go through all the cleaning and control procedures. Resistance against any of this treatment was in vain, because the pirates were well stocked with weapons to force the pollywogs to get through the very necessary process. No pleading was of help for our guests, because the pirates showed no mercy with them. In the end, all pollywogs passed the exam and were allowed to cross the equator. The last pollywog who entered the kingdom was my colleague and onboard photographer Lou. She received a very special treatment, not only being shaved and groomed but also being covered with flour, the whole bucket of ice water was poured over her and then the rest of the spaghetti adorned her head and shoulders. The cleaning of her took a while and was very exhaustive, as the pirates had to hose her several times in order that she be presentable.

Finally as everyone on board was accepted by King Neptune, the Prince Albert II was allowed to enter the southern oceans and sail towards our next destination: the Isla de la Plata in Ecuador.

In evening, Expedition Leader Robin West gave a short briefing to our guests about our destination tomorrow, and my colleagues Juan, Astrid, Aiello, Claire and Brigitte held a short recap regarding the geology of Central America, Crabs, Mermaids, Pirates and Isla La Plata and termites respectively.

Just before dinner, Jarda, the Assistant Expedition Leader, hosted a First Timer Cocktail Party in the Observation Lounge. After this, our guests enjoyed dinner now as new members in the Kingdom of Neptune, looking out from the Restau