This was our first full day, on this voyage, in the Southern Hemisphere. At 08:45 we were experiencing a moderate breeze, a slight chop with 2m waves, a temperature of 27⁰C and a position of 3S 7E and making good progress towards Walvis Bay, Namibia. The ocean is 30,000ft deep here and we are 170 miles away from land and have 1,177 miles to go to Walvis Bay.
As we reported yesterday, we Crossed the Line at 18:56 and the darkness delayed the usual ceremony which was held this morning.
It is thought to be a tradition since the 16th century as a means of testing new cadets who had not been this way before. Apparently, the ceremony may have been held under the noon day sun, and included walking the plank, the shaving of body parts, the application of tar or grease and immersion in water. H’s father experienced the tar and water immersion on his crossing the line in 1947 returning from India via Cape Town. H resisted the temptation today!!
Roman mythology has Neptune as god of the sea, so the ceremony is seen by mariners as a homage to his caretakership of the deep waters. High ranking members of the crew dress in elaborate costume as part of Neptune’s court. According to information in the ship’s daily newsletter, ‘Passages’ a high honour is due to one who crosses the line at the 180th meridian (longitude) also called the International Dateline. (As a family we did that on a 747 between Cairns, Australia and Los Angeles, USA over the Pacific Ocean). The ultimate honour, however, is for crossing the line at the intersection of the Prime Meridian 0⁰ longitude. That would have been last evening in the ocean 7⁰W of us and 8⁰S of Accra, Nigeria.
The day closed with an interesting sunset as the sun, when one faces west, dropped to the left, unlike those in the Northern Hemisphere.