Saturday, March 3, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Latitude 00.00.00

We crossed the equator. It was poetic. In fact, almost trite it was so poetic! At sunrise on March 3, 2012, the sailing vessel Astarte with Michael and Barbara aboard, crossed from the Northern Hemisphere into the Southern Hemisphere. We did it under sail with the sun rising and calm seas. It was lovely.

Ceremonies of old changed Polywogs (sailors who had never crossed the equator) into Shellbacks (the hardy that did indeed cross that imaginary line in the middle.) It usually entailed a King Neptune crawling over the bow and initiating the uninitiated by shaving their heads and dunking them from the yardarms into the sea three times to cleanse them.

Michael considered shaving his beard for the occasion. But, we realized, we need to clear into Ecuador and all his photos on the passport and all IDs have him bearded. We were certain with all the legal restrictions in the Galapagos this could be a problem and our Spanish is no where near good enough to explain a King Neptune ceremony.

So we settled for the tried and true celebration: popping a cork on champagne and sharing it with King Neptune. Now, we are always an alcohol free boat when on passage. But we made the exception for this big occasion.

We are now in the Southern Hemisphere – check off another box on the bucket list. And, because it was such a poetic moment:

A few more miles in the Northern Hemisphere
The equator's line is drawing near
When we see all zeros on latitude
That'll greatly improve our attitude
Hitting the Southern Hemisphere will make us cheer.

A good ceremony is in order
For crossing this magical border.
King Neptune rules the ocean blue
To his honor we must pay due
But on Astarte it won't mean a dunk in the water.

Ancient seafaring traditions are wild
Some sound quite horrific, not mild.
Three dunks in the sea
And shaved heads, no, not me!
Astarte's ceremony will be more styled.

The champagne cork did pop.
Glasses filled to the top.
To good King Neptune we toast
Ask his kindness as our host
Please give us seas with good wind and no chop

No longer "Pollywogs" are we
We're now "Shellbacks" you see
A big moment never to be lost
Once that equator's been crossed
And Astarte now cruises the Southern sea.

In twenty-twelve, oh three/oh three
At sunrise five fifty three
The line slid under our keel
For us it was a big deal
Now its the Southern Cross we'll see.

A big morning for the crew of Astarte. Thanks for joining us on the passage. Next stop, Villamil, on Isla Isabella, Galapagos.

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