Neptune Day traditionally is a day off of classes and a fun day for the students as it marks the passing of the Equator into the Southern Hemisphere. As an appreciation for this moment, SAS always has a ceremony for those who have passed the Equator via ship before initiating those of us who have not. The ceremony began with the staff leading King Neptune and Queen Neptune onto the deck that were then followed by the faculty and family members who had crossed the equator via ship on previous voyages. After the members entered, we had to make a pledge to King Neptune while all who wanted had fish guts poured on them, followed by jumping in the pool, kissing two fish, bowing to King Neptune, and having salt sprinkled upon our heads.
At the end of the ceremony, there was a traditional shaving of the head. Don’t worry—I didn’t partake in the shaving of my head, but most of the guys and some of the girls did. I joke that now when we get into ports, countries are going to think all 20-something Americans are bald!
At approximately 14:40, we were in the center of the world: 0’0. Looking out on the back deck, one would have thought it was a New Years Eve party! Everyone made signs and was cheering for the crossing—We’ve all gotten pretty nerdy about geography on the voyage. We were out on the deck all day trying to find differences about the water in the Southern Hemisphere of the world, but I’ve got to say, couldn’t find much! 0’0 looks a lot like 45’15 …just water for as long as the eye can see.
After the ceremony, we were official Shellbacks of the world…and to make it even cooler, we passed 0’0 which meant we crossed the Prime Meridian and the Equator at the same time…making us actually Emerald Shell Backs!