|Father Neptune and his entourage|
Whales migrate between the northern and southern hemispheres. So do birds. And so do cruise ships!Ships that have been cruising in the North Pacific during May to September, head down to the South Pacific in October for the Southern Hemisphere summer.Then in March, the ships go north again.
On these repositioning cruises, there is one special activity that passengers look forward to - the Crossing the Equator Ceremony.
King Neptune and his wife preside over the proceedings. The pirate captain kidnaps all the pollywogs ( the newest crew members), parades them through the crowds of passengers and pushes them into a specially constructed pen on deck.
One by one, the pollywogs are brought before King Neptune. They have to confess their transgressions and the King pronounces their punishment - kiss the fish, or get slimed and thrown into the swimming pool. Or sometimes both! "Kiss the fish, kiss the fish," chant the passengers and the poor pollywogs have to kiss a real fish.
Some pollywogs are thrown on to trestle tables and other crew members, dressed as nurses and doctors, slime them. This slime is brightly coloured goo with spaghetti mixed into it. The doctors and nurses are very enthusiastic in their slime duties! Soon the pollywogs are covered from head to toe in goo, then tossed into the swimming pool.
It is all a lot of fun and a chance to get some great photos. All passengers receive a certificate initiating them into the Royal and Ancient Order of Shellbacks from King Neptune himself!