"Davey Jones - - arriving!"
|Reprinted from the Oklahoma
City (CLG-5) December 1971 edition of "the sooner."
"Crossing the Line" ceremonies are
among the most ancient of naval traditions. Since antiquity,
seafaring men have used the occasion of crossing some significant
sea frontier to test the worthiness of inexperienced seamen.
For ancients woh navigated the Great (Mediteranean) Sea, passing
through the Straits of Gibraltar was occasion for important
ceremonies; the thirtieth parallel - - which is further South than
any part of th eGreat Sea - - was another early frontier.
More recently, the Equator and the International Date Line have
become the important markers.
A little squirt of Tabasco sauce wets the appetite for imminent
Greek and Roman mythology
influenced the earliest "Crossing the Line" ceremonies,
and the sailors often offered propritiatory gestures to Neptune,
Ruler of the Deep. Later ceremonies were largely intended to
determine that new seamen could endure the rigors of a difficult
John McCrite demonstrates the proper use of the shillalah.
|Typical modern "Crossing the
Line" festivities combine elements from both traditions.
Thus shellbacks (those who have crossed the Line) have certificates
bearing the seal of Neptunus Rex. The "Ruler of the
Raging Main" himself is one of the principal characters in the
initiation, as are Davey Jones and other members of Neptune's royal
While the physical abuse
suffered by the initiates is considerably less than that inflicted
on seamen in bygone days, shillalahs, fire hoses and garbage chutes
are still part of the fun.
The initiate is "babtized" - - and the
pollywog becomes a shellback.
|The OKLAHOMA CITY crossed the
Equator on November 17, 1971 en route to Singapore. After two
days of boisterous activities, about 750 "pollywogs"
(those who have not crossed the line) became "trusty
shellbacks," having been "duly initiated into the SOLEMN
MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT ORDER OF THE DEEP."
From Dave Rice: Oklahoma City crossed the
equator again on 23 October, 1972. This time is was us
shellbacks responsibility to initiate those wogs. I
still have my shillalah!
The Wog Beauty Contest.
The QM Gang, with showershoes taped to their knees, wating to
make the 1,200 foot crawl around the deck.