Thursday 26th March 2020

Daybreak, and we are shrouded in mist off the Gulf of Panama.

Overnight we had crossed the Equator but unfortunately we couldn’t keep our eyes open to celebrate! If we had been on schedule we would have done this in daylight and with the traditional ceremony. Crossing the Equator or “The Line” used to be a big thing on the liners of the 1930s to 1960s as the majority of people never had that opportunity. So if one had not done it before and word got out you were given special treatment.

Howard’s father, when returning in 1946 from serving in India had to navigate the Cape of Good Hope, because the Suez Canal was blocked, and crossed the Equator off Central Africa. The staff of the Arundel Castle, all in the best possible taste, tarred and feathered him, helped along by lashings of alcohol. Today’s crossing “The Line“ is a GPS affair. However, on a family holiday in 1996 on a Boeing 747 from Queensland to Hawaii, Howard asked if we could all go to the flight deck as we crossed the Equator at the International Date Line. The response was, “If you know where it is, then yes”. We made it with good old fashioned dead reckoning.

Late in the afternoon the Captain informed us that we were to rendezvous to take on supplies, medical equipment including testing kits and medical staff. In the darkness after 8:00 p.m. we saw the Rotterdam lit from stem to stern move alongside us. We had a ringside seat from our cabin window.

Late at night we left to rendezvous again in the reception area of the Gulf of Panama where ships wait for their slot to transit, like aeroplanes waiting to take off.

Scroll to Top