August 2, 2008
Like so many other special moments at sea with the FOODBANCS2 team, today's events are difficult to articulate in words. I leave you with a short passage and a few select images.
A time honored sailing tradition involves celebrating the crossing of a significant coordinate at sea. Last summer I was awarded a lovely Golden Dragon certificate for crossing the 180° date line in the Bering Sea. I was hoping for the something similar for earning my Red Nose - getting your kicks over latitude 66°, the Antarctic Circle. I received a certificate and much more than I bargained for.
I was suspicion when I saw that the large trash pail labeled "save for bulk carbon analysis" was being filled with excess mud from the Box core. Later, some of us received emails summoning those new to the Antarctic Circle to Neptune's court. I later learned that at no time did I have King Neptune's permission to enter the circle, thus with the bulk of the science work done, today was our trial. We appeared in the galley before King Neptune's family, complete with a grown man in a diaper and a jury of minions. We were charged with a host of atrocities, including handling Neptune's fine creatures without permission. I, of course, pleaded not-guilty which angered the motley crew of sea jurors. We were then asked to entertain the King to reduce our sentences, and I showered him with gifts of candied ginger and "lost" CTD data sheets to new avail. He wanted more. We performed a short skit about life on the boat which culminated with the shaving of young Christian's head. "Shockingly," we were all found guilty and sentenced to wait in the cold room until sentencing.
We were then blindfolded and lead to the back deck for a mud and firehouse shower ceremony, where King Neptune finally gave in and welcomed us to his sea domain. A great time was had by all and we followed it up with a "Christmas in July" party up in the conference room and homemade ice cream. Despite the hard work this cruise, everyone has remained supportive and in good spirits. The ceremony punctuated the excitement of the last couple of weeks and symbolizes the importance of visiting this fragile faraway place that needs to remain unspoiled.