As we sailed from Panama to Ecuador, many of the Enrichment Voyage participants woke up to quite a commotion when the crew ran up and down each deck, clanging pots and pans and pounding on doorways. What most of the shipboard community did not know is that today marked a very important occurrence, Neptune Day, the crossing of the Equator which comes with various rites of passage.
And lucky for me, I didn’t have to go through them again as I was already a shellback!
Those of us who had been through the ceremony on the MV Explorer before—the seasoned shellbacks if you will—got to convene early early early in the director’s office to get suited up for the day’s events.
Some of us had more prep than others, by way of green body paint!
One of Semester at Sea’s founders, Dr. Lloyd Lewan, resumed the position of King Neptune, a role he has played many times in his decades with the program. Rita Enders, who was on her 20th voyage, was his Queen Minerva. Staff who have crossed before served as the “royal court,” or goddesses of the sea.
Another shellback, Dr. Louis Patler, gave a brief description of the event and read Neptune’s creed, to which all pollywogs were required to respond with a hearty “aye!”
Then, field office coordinator Jennifer Mowad stepped forward as the sacrificial initiate. After being showered with a bucket of undecipherable green slime, Jennifer jumped into the pool to rinse off, then kissed a dead fish before also kissing King Neptune and Queen Minerva’s rings.
The rest of those scurvy pollywogs followed her lead.
Some people opted not to participate, but not those enthusiastic, musical boys from The Exchange. They were all about getting slimed (no doubt, an effect of growing up in the Nickelodeon generation)!
Another facet to the crossing ceremony includes having one’s head shaved by the royal barbers, which a number of pollywogs bravely opted to do. This included our noble Enrichment Voyages director Nathan Blessing, who only joined the program earlier this year and thus had never crossed the Equator before.
After all the willing pollywogs had been initiated—and the deck was filled with chunks of newly-shorn hair—the goddesses sacrificed their king, who in turn jumped into the pool himself and changed the water to a murky shade of green.
Of course, he was made to pucker up and lay a big one on the fish, as well.
It was a brilliant morning. Neptune Day is undoubtedly one of the events Enrichment Voyage and Semester at Sea participants look forward to most, and I already can’t wait till my next stint at sea when I get to initiate a whole new group of unsuspecting victims (*cue evil laugh*).
The third port (not including Nassau as a port) is Colon, Panama!
I guess since we clarified Cartagena, Colombia would be the 3rd port! I was just looking through the pictures again and it always catches me off guard when I see someone from my voyage in your pictures!
Remind me which ones you sailed with again??
I’m not sure if you’re counting the first port or not, so the answer is either Cartagena, Colombia or Colon, Panama.
Good point–I will count your answer and clarify above in the post!
That looks like CRAZY fun!
3rd port is Cartagena
One of my friends did a semester at sea a few years ago and had a great time. Now I can see why!
It is a great, GREAT time! And as fun a place to work as it is to be a student =)
The third port will be Cartagena, Colombia and hopefully I will be there! 🙂
The third port is Cartagena, Colombia!
Third port will be cartagena, colombia!
3rd port is cartagena, colombia…I hope I’m there!
the third port is cartagena, colombia!!
I’m headed your way right now, well to Memphis (15 free minutes of wifi on Alaska Air this month 🙂 woot woot)
3rd port is Cartagena, Columbia… what an awesome experience!
WHOOPS. I’m not sure where that ridiculous typo came from. I’ll try again.
Cartagena, Colombia. 🙂
You don’t get penalized for misspellings here, ha 😉
The third port is Cartagena, Colombia… and I’m dying to go there!
The third port will be Cartagena, Columbia.
The third port will be Cartagena, Colombia!
The third port including embarkation is Cartagena, Colombia!
The third port is my second home – Cartagena, Colombia! It is where I met and fell in love with my fiancé!
The third port is Cartagena, Colombia!
I think I commented about this before, but this looks like so much fun! If I wasn’t going to be working in South Korea/traveling home to see family in December I would totally be entering your contest as many times as possible 🙂
Looks like fun was had by all. That green paint brings back memories of when I painted myself green for Halloween. Sadly I was allergic to the paint. It took months for my face to go back to normal (:
That does not sound like a pleasant experience at all! I have to say I was fine with just throwing on a toga and leaving the body paint to somebody else =)
I’d kiss a fish to get to the third port at Cartagena, Colombia. Hope you’ll be the one to initiate me. Although I have been south of the equator while in SA.
But have you sailed across it? That’s when you get initiated as a shellback!
Not yet. But hopefully in December. What a great line up of speakers.
That’s looks like so much CRAZY fun do there and lots of Funny moments i had seen in pic.
Cartagena, Colombia, which always makes me think of Romancing the Stone 🙂
Third port of call is Cartagena, Columbia!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Sometimes I envy how much fun your life is!
Ha.. that looks hilarious. I don’t think I would kiss the fish or let them shave my head. 😉
How awesomely hilarious!! Enrichment Voyages looks more appealing with every post you make.
Dude, that sounds like the best tradition EVER. I wonder if I can implement it at work…
Don’t think I’d be willing to have my head shaved but I’m definitely up for being slimed!
Third port is Cartagena, Colombia.
The third port is Cartagena, Columbia. 🙂
Intense! Looks like the most eventful cruise ship I’ve ever seen… next to the ones that need to be evacuated of course lol.
Neptune Day sounds like a blast! What a right of passage…literally and figuratively!
The third port is Cartagena, Colombia! I was Rioche in the Northern Department. It was very hot but I loved it! The sea was so warm. But I’ve never been to Cartagena. I remember this town’s name from Jewel of the Nile movie.
Sounds like such a fun day!!
Awesome photos!! What a funny, special experience. I wish I could travel to Panama–and here you’re a seasoned “shellback”!
It’s Cartagena, Colombia! I misread the first time and posted that over on your original giveaway post too, woopsies.
This looks like a blast. And kissing a dead fish? Very similar to the Newfoundland Screech tradition of kissing the cod 🙂
This looks so rad! What a way to celebrate. Now, are you a shellback if you have done it before in general or with them?
I love how much you guys jump into every activity — wow!
I hope I am on board when the MV Explorer stops at it’s third port of call Cartagena Columbia!
3rd port of call is Cartagena, Columbia
Ha ha hilarious photos! They’ve really captured some of the horror on peoples’ faces as they kiss the fish! 🙂 What fun!
Love the pics, you can feel the fun oozing from them!
What a great post! I’m looking forward to going to both Panama and Ecuador next year. Thanks for sharing.
What a nice story and photos 🙂 Looks like everyone had a great time!
This is a total disgrace to ACTUAL shellbacks. Men and women who work the seas as a profession, who know sacrifice, in some cases, years at sea. Just the simple fact that you are willing to post pictures of the ceremony and discuss details, even minor ones is a complete affront to real Shellbacks. We are a time honored and sacred brotherhood, you disgust me.