Monday, April 02, 2007

Logbook: Equator Crossing

Equatorcrossing2Saturday was a day at sea, highlighted by an equator crossing ceremony that almost defies description. The staff and some of the crew went all out, dressing up to play parts as King Neptune, Queen Neptuna, the Royal Daughter, pirates, mermaids and others. In true sea going tradition, the captain was seized by pirates and forced to kneel before King Neptune to beg permission to cross the equator and to have “polywogs” -- anyone who has not sailed across the equator before -- initiated into the ranks of “shellbacks.” In due course, permission was granted then a half dozen polywogs were brought before the King and Queen, anointed with raw eggs, made to drink a foul potion and splashed with a nasty yellow concoction of the chef’s creation. When the passengers had been initiated, it came to our attention that Chef Paul -- who was doing an excellent job as a mermaid in drag -- had never been initiated! He begged forgiveness for trying to “slip by” and then got completely hammered by everybody with double doses of everything.

As often happens in these kinds of things, chaos ensued and the ceremony degenerated into a cross between a food fight and a mud wrestling match. When ammo and energy had been depleted, the ABs hosed everybody down, the deck was cleaned and a barbecue commenced. It was an excellent ceremony and proof that small ships have big fun. Because I had already been initiated, I did my part to dress up as a pirate extra by letting my beard grow, donning a bandana over my head, and wearing a pair of big, pirate-style hoop earrings that I borrowed from one of the girls. Because all of the staff was in the production, I volunteered to be the photographer and did my best to catch as much as I could in the fast moving free for all. When it was over, I did a quick mash-up of a movie which I showed on the big screen after the barbecue. Even though it was a pretty rough edit, everyone enjoyed it and more than one person was surprised how quickly I was able to put it together. All I could say, as always, was “Macs Rule!”

Equatorcrossing1Sunday morning we awoke to the sight of St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks, a tiny cluster of rocks -- actually the tips of mid-ocean mountains -- in the middle of the Atlantic. Our itinerary listed the possibility of a Zodiac landing, but sea conditions made that impossible. So, the captain made several circuits around the formation to view fishing boats, spinner dolphins and waves crashing against the rocks. It was a brief but very worthwhile little excursion, and the Photos pretty much tell the story. From there we set sail on a northeasterly course and have spent the past two days steaming into higher latitudes and -- thankfully -- cooler climates. I have spent most of my time at sea in the usual way, doing some iLife, editing a couple of Reports, etc.

Because my time on Polar Star will be coming to an end this weekend, I have also begun the process of sorting and packing my gear. It’s funny how even my small amount of stuff has gotten spread out and chaotic in my little cabin! This is by far the longest I have been in any one place for the past eight months and I have taken advantage of it by being decadent in my disarray. As I have packed up my cold weather and storm gear, organized my Mac stuff and begun to put it in order, I have a sense of movement. It is a good feeling and -- although my time on Polar Star has been very good in almost every way -- I will be ready to “go solo” again. We will make a stop in Cape Verde tomorrow then have two more days at sea before we reach the Canary Islands and make a three day excursion by bus and ferry to various islands there. After that, I will need to spend some quality time figuring out the next phase of The Voyage because I will have completely run out of planning, arrangements, etc. With any luck, there will be good internet in the Canaries... See what I mean? My mind is getting back into “go mode” on The Voyage of Macgellan!

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