Friday, January 29, 2016

FTV On the Equator

The Kennedy at the Equator
We crossed the equator! If you are a mariner you may know what that means, but as a landlubber you may not know their is a traditional ceremony done when a ships crosses 0 latitude.  Mariners for centuries have been performing a celebration, called Shellbacking. Today as we approached the equator we cadets were considered little pollywogs but once crossed the equator ceremony we became mighty shellbacks.

Nowadays it's all in fun and without official recognition. But mariners of earlier years, when it all began, were serious. As all sailors knew, Neptune, god of the sea, was fickle. He played an important role in ancient rituals just as he does in today's initiations. At his slightest whim, Neptune, it was believed, might throw a storm into the path of a ship that would splinter her oars and spars like matchwood, or cast her onto the rocky coast.  We won't go into detail on what occurs when Neptune and his court are piped aboard and the pollywogs join the Order of the Shellbacks, because that's a mystery of the deep, after all. Suffice it to say, that when the day ends, the Shellback has arrived. To prove it, he has a certificate of impressive size, festooned with drawings of fish, mermaids and a trident-wielding Neptune, to mark the event. The colorful tradition and ceremonious rituals survive, but anything dangerous or demeaning is prohibited today. READ More and Crossing The Line Ceremony

The Kennedy crossing ceremony occurred at 1030. Part of the shellbacking tradition is that as a pollywog you must never reveal the events that happened during the crossing. So to maintain the tradition I cannot tell you a lot about it, but it was truly an experience.

Here is how it went: waking up bright and early after a full night of costume and prop making by the shellbacks on board we all had fun participating in the ceremony activities. After we became mighty shellbacks we enjoyed another great cook out, not just a special lunch but also a dinner in the evening. The cadets got to lie in the sun and just hang out on a warm and sunny day off. Of course the sunscreen was plentiful and the cadets were diligent about keeping their skin protected all day,

Do you know why everyone was worried about the sun today of all days?  Well this was not just another day in the Caribbean, it was on the actual the equator where the sun is the hottest because it is closest to the earth! After our ceremony festivities, and cook out the day was relaxed and everyone enjoyed themselves. We all went to bed with full stomachs after we consumed  840 Hamburgers, 660 Sausages, 50 lbs of rice, 54 gallons of ice cream, 500 hot dogs, 8 sheet-pans of brownies and 40 watermelons. Before we know it we will be in Costa Rica!

Until then,

What is the equator?
 The equator is an imaginary line that divides the earth’s northern and southern hemisphere. It is located at zero degrees latitude.If you’ve ever looked at a globe or a map of the world, you’ve probably noticed lots of different lines. What do all these lines mean? If you go to those parts of the world, can you see the lines? Could you trip over them? Don’t worry! None of those lines are actual lines that you can see on the ground. They’re just imaginary lines we use on maps to help us measure and understand the world we live in.

Learning about the Equator
Why is it Hotter-at-Equator
Why Does Earth Bulge at the Equator?
Visiting the line
10 Things You Didn't Knew About The Equator

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