In the Realm of King Neptune

Ahh… it was another glorious day as we woke up this morning around eight o’clock as usual. Going out onto our balcony, my eyes screwed up against the brightness of the sun, we saw that once again the weather was perfect, with fluffy white cumulous clouds above a blue, blue Indian Ocean. 😊

We went into the Secret Garden buffet for our breakfast, and I enjoyed the usual array of cold meats and cheeses, followed by a Danish pastry and a cup of coffee.  Then we went outside for a wander around, where once again we met Chief Officer Stefan Ravneng, and we asked him if we’d crossed the Equator yet, as we were pretty close yesterday.  The Chief advised that Captain Sartela would announce when we were crossing this legendary line at latitude 00˚ 00’.

Meanwhile, we attended a talk in the Neptune Lounge given by botanist Tracy Foster, entitled “What Have Plants Done For Us?”  It was very interesting, showing the role that plants have played on our planet, the fact that they can kill us or cure us, and how the symbiotic relationship between plants and animals keeps the world going.  Fascinating stuff.

Afterwards we went along to the Iceni Room to get a cup of coffee, and we sat by the window enjoying the passing seascape.  It was now 10.45am and we wanted to go to the pool deck, to get a great vantage point for today’s highlight, the famous Crossing the Line Ceremony.

It has long been a seafaring tradition for sailors to have an initiation ceremony for anyone crossing the main lines of latitude and longitude, namely the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, the Equator and the International Date Line.  Sailors who have previously crossed the Equator on board ship and have been accepted as King Neptune’s Trusty Shellbacks look down on those “disgusting Pollywogs”, that is, those who have never crossed the Equator.  Trevor and I have crossed the Equator on board ship a number of times, and already have certificates from three different ships, so this would be our fourth.  😊

I got a great seat at the edge of the pool to await the arrival of King Neptune and his Royal Entourage.  They soon arrived along with some ‘mermaids’ and some ‘pirates’, and cruise director Allan Tait came along dressed in a courtroom gown and wig to keep order over the proceedings.  At King Neptune’s feet was an oval platter containing a large wet fish.

First of all, Captain Sartela was called before King Neptune and brought to trial for his “crimes” against his Kingdom the Deep.  He was invariably found guilty and given the choice of kissing the fish or taking an early bath.  Before he had the chance to answer, the pirates grabbed him and threw him into the swimming pool in all his clothes, amidst much laughter and cheering from the crowd!  😊

Next it was the turn of the Chief Officer and he too was subjected to the same fate.  However, he pulled one of the pirates into the pool with him, and the soaking wet Captain came along, lifted another of the pirates and threw her into the pool too!

Thus the ceremony proceeded, and it ended up where all the senior officers, as well as the entertainers, were all swimming around fully clothed and splashing in the pool, full of good-natured fun and laughter. Finally everyone else, including Allan Tait and Lloyd Davies the comedian were all in the pool too, and King Neptune announced that we were all now Shellbacks and the Boudicca could continue her voyage into the Northern Hemisphere.  😊

It was a really great performance, and for the first-time cruisers on Boudicca, (there were quite a few of them) it would have been something quite special for them to tell all their friends back home.  😊

While all this was going on, the bar staff were going round with trays of complimentary rum punch, and we enjoyed a few beakers of the chilled, fruity drink before it took us nicely up to lunchtime, which once again we ate al fresco, sitting at a table at the Poolside Grill.

The afternoon passed in its usual pleasant way, and at 2.45pm we went along to the Neptune Lounge to listen to the second of Roger Cook’s presentations, called “Terror in the Skies”, which was an investigation into the appallingly lax security at some airports which contributed to the disaster that was 9/11.  I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea going and watching a presentation about aircraft being hijacked or bombed, particularly as we had another 12-hour flight to endure at the end of our voyage. ☹

However, the presentation was very interesting, if somewhat disturbing, and we were reminded of what a great investigative journalist/reporter Roger Cook was.

We then returned to our stateroom (suite!!) where I had a drink, did some of this blog, then sat out on the balcony for a while, watching the world go by.  Then we just relaxed until the guy arrived with the canapés and replenished our fruit bowl, before it was time to get washed and changed for dinner.

Dinner was, as ever, delicious and plentiful with good service in excellent company.  We then went along to the Neptune Lounge and took part in the ballroom dancing.  While I was there, someone commented on my shoes, which have a 5” Perspex heel in the shape of the Playboy Bunny, with a little diamante eye.  One guy asked if I was “Britannia” and shook my hand – obviously my British Night outfit was still the talk of the ship!  😊

The show tonight saw the return of Shaun Perry, the instrumentalist and singer, and once again he performed some good songs.  But later on it would be the passengers’ turn to perform their best songs as it was Karaoke Night after the quiz.

In the Lido Lounge, we were joined again by Gary and Angela, and this time Joe put in a reappearance, so we have five in our team.  We narrowly hit the post though, as we scored 13/15 and had to take part, with two other teams, in the tie-breaker, which we didn’t win.

At 10.45pm Don from the entertainments team came round with the Karaoke books and slips of paper, and I put my name down to do You Know I’m No Good by Amy Winehouse.  Quite a few singers got up, and the overall standard was quite decent.  Everyone who got up to sing could pick a prize, and I got a little hand-bag mirror.  I then decided to do another Amy Winehouse number, this time Back to Black.  I got a big cheer afterwards and my prize was a Fred Olsen bottle opener.  The Karaoke overran a bit, and went on until after midnight.  We really enjoyed it. Then it was back to suite 7038 with a nightcap, which we enjoyed out on the balcony.  It had been a good day and we still had another sea day to look forward to tomorrow – there is always so much to do on the good ship Boudicca.  😊

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