Sailing Nandji Ep 93: in this episode of Sailing Nandji, after visiting the local market in Jayapura and enjoying the street food of Indonesia, it was time to head back to sea and continue our journey West to the Indonesian province of Raja Ampat. The 700nm passage to Sorong took us close to the equator and since we were so close we thought, lets cross the damn thing! We sail off course and head North crossing the equator naked then are greeted by a monster squall. We have a quick party and offer our sacrifice to King Neptune before setting some sails again and sailing south in the strong winds and heavy rain… Sailing naked across the Equator!!!
Why we’re sailing naked across the equator?
In light of tradition, sailors are supposed to get down to their birthday suits and all jump into the water naked, swim under the keel and then climb the mast!
The line-crossing ceremony is an initiation rite that commemorates a person’s first crossing of the Equator. The tradition may have originated with ceremonies when passing headlands, and become a “folly” sanctioned as a boost to morale, or have been created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long, rough voyages. Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are common in the Navy and are also sometimes carried out for passengers’ entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. They are also performed in the merchant navy and aboard sail training ships.
Throughout history, line-crossing ceremonies have sometimes become dangerous hazing rituals. Most modern navies have instituted regulations that prohibit physical attacks on sailors undergoing the line-crossing ceremony.