(Underway, 55 Nautical Miles)
Introducing the world’s four newest Shellbacks!
The story goes that sailors who have not crossed the equator are affectionately referred to as Polliwogs. A goofy, somewhat demeaning name defined literally as tadpoles. It is not until a sailor has crossed – read sailed – over the unseeable, yet measurable bisecting line circling the hot zone of our earth that they earn their stripes and the honour to be called Shellbacks.
So here we are; Shellback Sasha, Shellback Roger, Shellback Gregory, and Shellback Kaycee. We came, we saw, we conquered. Then we stayed awhile longer and had a wee bit of a party.
That’s the thing about making this crossing with friends, you have partners in crime. Their mere proximity makes a near 24 hour layover at the equator an acceptable, exciting, and memorable time. Not to mention, there’s amigos to share the chilled champagne with!
Yesterday we came back into visual contact with Ednbal and at 2 pm we all four entered our wagers for the upcoming equatorial ribbon. As we rolled up to the line around 10 am this morning we were all drastically wrong. We were all too eager and optimistic about the wind, predicting times in the wee hours of the night. It couldn’t have worked out better if we planned it though, at a half a mile out Roger sidled Ednbal up to Oceanna’s starboard side while the rest of us attached the docklines. There we were, rafted up in the middle of the Pacific like it was a calm day on the lake. As one triumphant vessel we crossed the line together.
With ridiculous costumes on the docket all Poliwogs came properly attired. We had a graceful ballerina, a fully armed pirate, Poseidon himself, and a misplaced prairie girl. Some of the costumes weren’t much of a stretch, but amusing nonetheless. (I’m looking at you twinkle toes.)
As we crossed Poseidon invoked the favour of the Gods in a traditional ceremony. He asked they bless Ednbal and Oceanna today in their accomplishment and in all their adventures to come. Champagne was shared all around, Gods included, and Shellback Sasha treated us to a real luxury of caviar as we continued to drift into the southern latitudes.
We simply could not get over the conditions around us. There was not a breath of wind, leaving the ocean around us like one large rolling piece of glass. The state of the sky could only be described as a perfect “Blue Bird”. Leaving its endless blues to melt down into the sea.
It was because of these sublime conditions, and Greg’s inherent need to take things to the next level, that we dropped Marie in the water and busted out the tow line. If you’d have asked me yesterday if I knew of anyone who has wakeboarded over the equator hundreds of miles out to sea, I would have quickly said no and asked how you’d even concocted such an idea. Today I know four. And although Roger spotted a large fin cruising the waters as we neared ground zero, it was the most idyllic tear of my brief life.
It wasn’t until the sun had set, the BBQ’d pizzas were devoured, and the last of the celebratory cocktails were finished that we untied the docklines and separated our equator raft for a night of calm drifting.
Milestone met. Next stop, land.