Crossing the Equator

Trip Start Sep 19, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Senegal  , Dakar,
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today we crossed the equator and there will be the usual ceremony attended by Neptune (The Third Oiler dressed up…poor sod) tonight, Word is if we play our cards right the Captain may order extra rations and a grog of watered rum.

My eyes however will be on Mr. Christian.

As it turned out the Equator Crossing Ceremony was quite a laugh, and the Captain staved off his inevitable fate by putting wine on everyones table, but later on in the early hours of the morning came the seminal moment of the trip as just after we had awoken we were jolted out of our alcoholic stupor by the sound of 7 short blasts on the ships siren followed by one long blast.

If you'd have read and initialed the Grimaldi Book of Maritime Safety you’d have known that this means everyone to the Bridge immediately whatever you are doing….THIS IS NOT A DRILL

Feeling a little pensive we trudged up to the Bridge with an eagle eyed member of the supernumeraries having spotted we were listing about 15 degrees to port.

On the bridge the Captain called us to silence so he could make an announcement.

The Philipino Crew made the sign of the cross as the Captain began, and the supernumeraries checked the locations of the survival suits and the reverse osmosis pump. We were after all almost exactly half way across the South Atlantic with no land for about 2000 miles in any direction.

Since the wifi signal is a bit intermittent we will carry this on next week

One week later…………

With a grave face the Captain explained that we had stowaways on board, and that although they had been seen on the ships night vision cameras they could not be found. Supernumeraries would be locked out of the way whilst a full search was mounted.

The Captain mentioned that when they were found they would be locked in the Brig, and did not see the humorous side when a supernumerary asked if that meant one of the passengers would have to move out of their cabin.

He responded by saying that the Brig was not the same as a passengers cabin….similar perhaps but not the same.

The list by the way was caused by discharging water ballast which has to be done in mid ocean.

They eventually caught the two Sierra Leonean stowaways, and our hearts went out to them…they were just boys…didn’t have a clue where the ship was going, and were just bereft of hope in their own land.

The incident seemed to spark a new camaraderie between crew and supernumeraries, and we are now best of mates, cemented by the fact that we told them they were flying the wrong flag on entering Freetown harbour. They changed it very smartly as the port authorities could have fined them heavily.

We have now been 25 days on board without being sea sick, and to be fair the weather has been quite blowy so we can honestly say we have got our sea legs.

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