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The James Clark Ross is now heading north for the Cape Verde Islands and is due to arrive at lunchtime on Friday when all the non-ship personnel will be disembarked ashore to catch onward flights.

Prior to joining the ship in Montevideo I was expecting to see the ship sailing from Ascension Island with only the crew on board,  but due to the runway issues there are in fact twenty six on board and of these twenty one have not had the pleasure of crossing the Equator on a ship before.  It goes without saying that we can't let such a thing be allowed to pass and so King Neptune has been requested to attend on Tuesday afternoon at 15:00Z.

The official notice announcing the imminent arrival of King Neptune on Tuesday.  Having thought that there were only twenty one Pollywogs on board,  a late offender has been identified so it will be a very busy court tomorrow.

The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the British Merchant Navy, Dutch Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, Russian Navy, and other navies that commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the Equator. The tradition may have originated with ceremonies when passing headlands, and become a "folly" sanctioned as a boost to morale, or have been 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/Honorable) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs (in 1832 the nickname griffins was noted).

Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are also sometimes carried out for passengers' entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. They are also performed on the Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross.

Captain Robert FitzRoy of HMS Beagle suggested the practice had developed from earlier ceremonies in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian vessels passing notable headlands. He thought it was beneficial to morale: "The disagreeable practice alluded to has been permitted in most ships, because sanctioned by time; and though many condemn it as an absurd and dangerous piece of folly, it has also many advocates. Perhaps it is one of those amusements, of which the omission might be regretted. Its effects on the minds of those engaged in preparing for its mummeries, who enjoy it at the time, and talk of it long afterwards, cannot easily be judged of without being an eye-witness."

"Deep was the bath, to wash away all ill;
Notched was the razor—of bitter taste the pill.
Most ruffianly the barber looked—his comb was trebly nailed—
And water, dashed from every side, the neophyte assailed."

I am confident that a good time will be had by all taking part and that no one will be lost at sea.  All being well a full report on the afternoon's activities will be in the next update.

There is a very large tern colony on Ascension Island and those that went ashore yesterday had the chance to see these lovely birds.  Picture Helen Jones.

One does not have to go far off shore....just a few feet,  to encounter some of the local fish.  Picture Helen Jones.

The James Clark Ross at anchor off Georgetown.  One tell that the ship is at anchor as the 'anchor ball' can be seen hanging between the 'A' frame of the Foremast.  Picture Helen Jones.

A crab!  This is a wonderful picture of one of the types of crab that can be found on Ascension Island.  It is actually a very small crab.  Picture Helen Jones.

Previous updates from this trip

Noon Position Report

Latitude: 3° 45 S
Longitude: 16° 03 W
Bearing: 338 °T, 268 Nm from Ascension Island
Cruise Number: JR16-NG
Distance Travelled: 268
Total Distance Travelled: 268
Steam Time: 18.9
Total Steam Time: 18.9
Average Speed: 14.4
Total Average Speed: 14.4
Wind: Direction SE, Force 4
Sea State: Moderate
Air Temp: 29.5 °C Sea Temp: 27.1 °C
Pressure: 1013.8 Tendency (3hrs): Steady


Previous updates from this trip

Mike Gloistein
gm0hcq @ gm0hcq.com