For the second time we have passed over the equator – this time from South
to North.  Just above Papua New Guinea, in the South Pacific.  Romantic
notion – but in reality the weather was rubbish.  We actually crossed the
line at around 9am in the morning – I was off watch and slept through it
all – but we did not have the ceremony until the 11.30am meeting.  It
rained virtually continuously all night, and the boat was heeled over.  It
did let up for about an hour – just the time needed for the Pollywogs on
board to become Shellbacks.

This time around a good number of us had already gone through the
initiation ceremony.  All the round the worlders, of course, and the
cameraman Rich.  Val had planned the ceremony again, with help from Marc,
so it was “improved” on the last one.
The Pollywogs were called up one at a time in front of Neptune (Marc with a blanket around his nether region, and each one was “charged” with something, and had to either accept the charges or drink from Neptune’s juice (a probably off day old yoghurt).
They all accepted the charges as follows:  Chris for doubling the count of
Political Consultants on board, An for having an unhealthy obsession with
dried noodles and not eating what the mother’s cooked, Steve for his
ambition for being the biggest slum landlord in Australia, Qui for
decimating the stocks of ginger tea on board, Linda for incessantly
chatting and hyper active behaviour, Phil for not being sarcastic enough,
Shona for doubling the number of ginger people on board, Peter for
falsifying his date of birth to look younger than he is, and Kirsty who had
four charges!

Number one, giving away boat information at the mast to other boats, as she is so loud and she can be heard two miles away.  Number two, butchering the English language with her own breed of Yorkshire. Number three, indiscriminately snogging strangers, and number four, shenanigans with other crew members (snogging Jim from Leg One on New Year’s Eve).  She accepted all charges begrudgingly.  Only because she sniffed the yoghurt and decided the better option was to own up!

They all then had to “run the gauntlet” down the boat slowed down by the
yankee sheet across the middle, with all the Shellbacks throwing cups of
water to see the High Priestess (who looked amazingly like Wendo in a tutu
with an Australian flag around her shoulders and the flashing hair and wand
from New Years Eve) to receive the food and drink of the gods (a splodge of
neat vegemite and a swig of rum).
Once they were accepted, and said the little ditty etc, they had a cupfull of cornflakes soaked in water over ther heads.  Well, we had to think of some way to deplete the stocks of cornflakes we still have from London!  Unfortunately, Kirsty being last, had the bucket on her head rather than a cup.  And all the yoghurt.  Oh dear.  Good job she is game for a laugh!!

That done, the weather turned again.  At least the temperatures are a
degree or so lower.  But I have now had several soggy bottoms – and a
feeling that a scabby bottom is on the way.  Leg Five before I got one –
what went wrong?  We passed an old fridge floating in the middle of the sea
this morning – we went quite close just to make sure that there wasn’t
someone in it.
You get some strange sorts that want to circumnavigate the world.  Maybe even strange enough to want to do it in a fridge.  But there wasn’t, so we went on our way leaving the fridge to bob along.  Good job it wasn’t at night, and in the middle of our path.  Wonder how many other objects there are out there that we haven’t seen and have had near misses with………..

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Bridget only has basic email facilities on the boat. Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul Keevil!
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