Crossing the Equator

After leaving Panama and continuing south toward Ecuador, I crossed the equator for the first time ever. I knew this moment was coming, of course, but I didn’t think to pay attention to when it would happen, so I was pleased when the cruise director announced that there would be an “equator crossing ceremony” for first timers like me at 3pm.

When I made my way to the lounge, I ran into some ship friends and was disappointed to learn that we had already crossed the equator a couple hours earlier, so I had completely missed the moment. Ah well. Luckily, my friend had taken a screenshot of the moment on Google Maps which he kindly shared with me.

Crossing the equator

As for the ceremony, it was just bizarre. It’s called the line-crossing ceremony and there’s a big, cheesy story about King Neptune and initiation into some sort of … army? with participants – known as “pollywogs” pre-crossing – required to swear their loyalty by kissing a fish and thus becoming “shellbacks.” I don’t know, there were a lot of people and it was hard to hear – and I did not kiss the fish, so does that mean I haven’t actually crossed the equator? It’s very confusing.

Line crossing ceremony

For my fellow language and trivia lovers, as you know the equator crosses through Ecuador, but did you know that is actually the Spanish word for “equator” as well? And that in French, the country is l’Équateur and the line is l’équateur? It’s only in English that the connection is a bit less obvious.

Topics: Ecuador, French language, Spanish language

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