By: Mackenzie Enich
Neptune Day is the day a ship crosses the equator and there are many traditions that happen. Those of us who have not crossed the equator by water are known as pollywogs and when we cross over we transformed into shellbacks. The night before this is the email we received:
“Tomorrow marks our sail across the equator and King Neptune usually pays us a visit. We will celebrate his arrival with Neptune Day! Around 07:00, the festivities will begin and you will take the journey from pollywog to shellback by paying your respects to his highness and his royal court. Participation is not mandatory but highly encouraged – participate to your level of comfort! Wear a bathing suit and clothes you don’t mind getting a bit dirty and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”
At 7:00am the crew came through the halls as a parade banging drums and ringing bells to get us all up to eat breakfast and get on to the seventh deck. We all crowded around the pool as the royal procession walked into the crowed. Many of the faculty became royalty like the queen, the royal shaver, and King Neptune himself (our captain painted green).
The traditions go in this order (at least for me). I stood in the side pool with my friends and we had fish guts poured on us. It was cold, red, and smelly. Then we turned around, held hands, screamed, and jumped into the pool. When we climbed out we had to kiss a fish and then King Neptune’s ring. If we didn’t, he would push us back into the pool. The last, most drastic, tradition is shaving your head as tribute to King Neptune. Of course all these traditions are optional. Of course I participated in all of it. Yes, I shaved my head.
Many people have assumed I planned to shave my head and they are shocked when I say it was spur of the moment. I won’t keep it this way, but no regrets.