Many of the Enrichment Voyage participants woke up to quite a commotion this morning as the crew ran up and down each deck, clanging pots and pans and pounding on doorways. What most of the shipboard community did not know is that today marked a very important occurrence, Neptune Day, the crossing of the Equator which comes with various rites of passage.
One of Semester at Sea’s founders, Dr. Lloyd Lewan, resumed the position of King Neptune, a role he has played many times in his decades with the program. Rita Enders, who soon will complete her 20th voyage, was his Queen Minerva. Staff who have crossed before served as the “royal court,” or goddesses of the sea.
Another shellback—one who is a veteran of the Equator crossing—Dr. Louis Patler gave a brief description of the event and read Neptune’s creed, to which all pollywogs were required to respond with a hearty “aye!” Then, field office coordinator Jennifer Mowad stepped forward as the sacrificial initiate. After being showered with a bucket of undecipherable green slime, Jennifer jumped into the pool to rinse off, then kissed a dead fish before also kissing King Neptune and Queen Minerva’s rings.
After that, the remaining pollywogs approached the pool and followed suit.
Another facet to the crossing ceremony includes having one’s head shaved by the royal barbers, which a number of pollywogs bravely opted to do, including Enrichment Voyages director Nathan Blessing.
After all the willing pollywogs had been initiated, the goddesses sacrificed their king, who, in turn, jumped into the pool himself and changed the water to a murky shade of green.
All in a day’s work here on the MV Explorer.
For the full Neptune Day photo album, visit our official Facebook page.