Co-ordinates: Noon position 01°11’35”N, 080°00’11”W
Weather: Clear day with a slight wind, Beaufort 5
Air Temperature: 26C
Sea Temperature: 28C
Wind: SW 18 Knots
We made our way south towards Isla de la Plata in Ecuador under a clear sky with shining sunlight and a slight wind, enough to keep the outer temperatures comfortable and whip up a few white caps on the ocean surface.
The morning was occupied with the some interesting lectures given by the Expedition Team, beginning with Robin West, Expedition Leader, who spoke about the Prince Albert II from her beginnings as an expedition ship to her conversion and how she came to be part of the Silversea fleet.
After that came Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist, with a talk entitled: ‘Sea Monsters, Mermaids & Giants – Fact or Fiction’ – a review of legends about fantastic creatures of the sea and how they came to be from a basis of imagined and real animals of the world.
After lunch, and as we had been warned in the Daily Chronicles by a written greeting and warning, we were boarded by a delegation of the court of the Domain of Neptune, including his scribe, Davy Jones, some pirates, his court’s Doctor and Barber (all of them part of the Staff) and of course the Royal Family, comprised of Amphitrite (Neptune’s wife) in reality our Expedition Leader in drag, her baby (Juan Restrepo, our Geologist) and Neptune himself (yours truly) in order to comply with the formalities of passing across the equatorial line.
I gave a speech regarding the large slimy cargo of Pollywogs, landlubbers, beach combers, lounge rats, and other despicable land beasts masquerading as bona fide seamen onboard, and summoned all before my Royal Court to be tried and to prove their worthiness to enter my domain.
The Pollywogs (the equator crossing virgins!) were separated from the Shellbacks (those who had crossed before) and subjected to different tests and initiation travails, including being clean shaven (in jest) by the King’s Barber, kissing Neptune’s baby’s belly and his wife’s feet (covered in mustard and other substances), of course the ever important ceremony of the Kissing of the Fish, and finally being dumped into the Jacuzzi to swim under the rope.
After all these trials, they were given a vodka shot for good health and declared fit to cross. Then I, Neptune, gave a welcoming speech to all onboard, authorizing the crossing into my realm and declaring my pleasure at this action. After the crossing formalities were completed the King and his entourage departed.
This evening, although it was not yet the end of our voyage, the Captain invited everyone to a farewell cocktail party, in part as a celebration of our crossing, and this was followed by another magnificent dinner prepared by Lionel the Executive Chef and served by Ali and his excellent team in The Restaurant.