Monday, 16 August 2010

Shellbacks and pollywogs

We have been warned about the bump that may happen as we sail across the equator so we're obviously excited by that ;-)

Crossing the equator by sea is a big deal to sailors. Wikipedia says:
'The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and other navies that commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the Equator. Originally, the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs.'

It was quite a joy to discover that my nearest and dearest are all 'slimy pollywogs', but soon they will join me as part of the trusty shellbacks!

This is the text from a certificate issued on a Royal Navy ship during the Second World War:
Whereas by our Royal Consension, Our Trusty, Well Beloved .................... has this day entered Our Domain. We do hereby declare to all whom it may concern that it is Our Royal Will and Pleasure to confer upon him the Freedom of the Seas without undue ceremony. Should he fall overboard, We do command that all Sharks, Dolphins, Whales, Mermaids and other dwellers in the Deep are to abstain from maltreating his person. And we further direct all Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and others who have not crossed Our Royal Domain, to treat him with the respect due to One of Us. Given under Our Hand at Our Court on board H.M.S. .............. on the Equator in Longitude .....° on this ..... day of ..... in the year .....
Cancer — High Clerk
Neptune — Rex

This is the text from a certificate issued on a United States Navy ship during the 1960s:
Know ye, that .................... on the ..... day of ..... , aboard .............. appeared at the equator at Latitude .....° , Longitude .....° entering into Our Royal Domain, and having been inspected and found worthy by My Royal Staff and was initiated into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep. I command my subjects to Honor and Respect him as one of our Trusty Shellbacks.
Davey Jones — His Royal Scribe
Neptunus Rex — Ruler of the Raging Main

So there you have some more random sailor facts from the middle of the ocean somewhere near the equator! And hopefully should we ever end up swimming with 'dwellers in the deep' that they will respect our status and not eat us.

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