Travel Thailand Flight Sim Video Links
World Tour Main
Victoria, B.C.
Honolulu, Hawaii
King Neptune
Goa, India
Muscat, Oman
Dubai, U.A.E.
Manama, Bahrain
Male, Maldives
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hong Kong
Tokyo, Japan
Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Crossing the Equator

There is an ancient ceremony associated with crossing the Equator. It is an elaborate "play" with actors and costumes and some ritualistic hazing thrown in for luck. I'm not going to describe everything that is going on here since there are better sources for that elsewhere, but I'll try to cover the basics.

To start with, there are two groups of people: Shellbacks (those who have crossed before) and Tadpoles (those who haven't). The night before the ship crosses the Equator, the Herald arrives with the Royal Court and summons the "Subbie's Guard" for inspection. Invariably, the inspection does not go well, and the ship's company is told to prepare for King Neptune's arrival the next day. The ship's company splits into two groups (Shellbacks and Tadpoles) and an orgy of drunken violence takes place.

The next day starts off with the "Tadpole's Breakfast", followed by an initiation ceremony later in the day which included getting fish guts smeared on your face, eating a "medical pill", getting "shaved" and then hopefully getting dunked in the pool. After that, the new Shellback emerges to the chants of "Clean!" and he is no initiated. The full Royal Court with all its players as well as the "Bears" and "Police" ensure full participation.

A video is also available:

Members of the Subbie's Guard take one last smoke before they meet their fate on the Forecastle.

The guard gets inspected by the Herald and Davy Jones. Fish guts have already been applied here.

The Royal Court takes their seats to watch the festivities. The ones with dark cloaks and ropes around their waists are "Bears".

Trusted Shellback enjoy their delicious breakfast. Usually it includes steak and eggs benedict, but we sort of got ripped of on this trip. It's still better than what the Tadpoles ate though.

Trusted Shellbacks serve breakfast, checking names to ensure that no Tadpoles are served.

The Tadpole breakfast is served cold, with copious amounts of food colouring added.

Several people actually vomited during the breakfast.

This is a Bear. The Bears are the enforcers, ensuring all the Tadpoles are rounded up and participate. Don't play with the Bears!

Davy Jones plays a part in the "play". Elaborate costumes are encouraged.

The Royal Court takes the stage. Here we see King Neptune (with the Trident), as well as the "Doctor", "Nurse", Mermaids nad "Barbers".

More of the same...

... same

One lucky member gets "shaved" before being fed his "medicine" by the Doctor.

Hopefully you don't puke because they might decide to send you to the end of the line at the last minute.

But once the Bears dunk you, you are no longer a Lowly Tadpole but a Trusted Shellback. Then it's all over, and eventually you will be issued a card (don't lose it!) that will forever identify you as a Shellback.

Well, it's not as bad as it looks. On this trip everyone participated except 4 people, 2 of whom had already completed the trials, but had forgotten their card at home.

This page was updated May 22, 2008