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Atlantic coccoliths blog

Neptune’s visit

Jeremy, Thursday 30 October 2008

As we continue inexorably southward days are beginning to merge into each other and we are going a bit stir-crazy. So any excuse for a change of routine is very welcome and last week we hit the biggest one, crossing the equator.

King Neptune and his lovely wife © Richard Turner

King Neptune and his lovely wife © Richard Turner

This happened on Thursday night and, as often happens at this latitude we were visited next day by King Neptune and his beautiful lady wife together with a retinue of judge, barber, doctor, and several policemen.

King Neptune’s lackeys © Richard Turner

King Neptune’s lackeys © Richard Turner

We were advised that various members of our party had been identified as ‘pollywogs’ - innocents who had not crossed the line previously and needed to be tried for crimes against Neptune.

Following time-honoured custom we then ran off to hide but were found one by one by the police and taken to the court for trial – where all the miscreants were found guilty, ceremonially shaved, given a few slops, injected with rather vile medicine, and invited to ‘kiss the kipper’.

An attempted escape and recapture © Richard Turner

An attempted escape and recapture © Richard Turner

Jeremy having made little effort to hide was caught rather early on, judged to have been particularly disrespectful and punished for numerous misdemeanours, which was more or less fair. But, later he was given a second trial for heckling, which was a bit mean.

Jeremy meeting his fate © Richard Turner

Jeremy meeting his fate © Richard Turner

Martine by contrast hid with supreme ingenuity and nearly escaped the process completely. However, she was eventually found and dragged to the court. Here she showed great aplomb but was found guilty of an exceptionally long and serious list of crimes (including being French and claiming to have crossed the line on a foreign ship) and got a well-deserved punishment.

Martine being dragged to court and punished © Richard Turner

Martine being dragged to court and punished © Richard Turner

The police then decided that one of their number, the electrician Johnie needed a little special treatment, as he had only previously crossed the line on cruise ships, which doesn’t count. After that the pollywogs managed to turn the tables, staging a revolt and successfully chastising the doctor and various police.

Johnnie getting special attention © Richard Turner

Johnnie getting special attention © Richard Turner

Finally we rounded off with a bit of a party, which felt well-earned as we have been working more or less non-stop for the past three weeks, and to allow this the next morning’s early station was cancelled.

Pollywogs revolting © Richard Turner

Pollywogs revolting © Richard Turner

Apparently this is something of a tradition on AMT cruises and means that there is a bit of a gap in our data set just around the equator.

Jeremy and Martine, now in the South Atlantic

Posted in Life at sea

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