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‘Pollywogs and Shellbacks’

27 March 2017 Go back

As the Oyster World Rally fleet sailed across the equator en-passage to Galapagos some strange sights unfold…

A time held tradition requires all vessels that cross the equator, must pay their respects to the Lord of the Sea, ‘King Neptune’, and gain his acceptance and thereby safe passage on the high seas.

Overseen by the Court of King Neptune the ‘Shellbacks’ (seasoned sailors who have previously crossed the equator) carry out an initiation ceremony on the ‘Pollywogs’ (the unseasoned sailor crossing the equator for the first time). The initiation can involve head shaving, dosing with seawater and drinking of the truth serum, raw egg yolk and chilli. King Neptune stands over the ceremony with his magnificent Trident sceptre in hand and adorned with a golden crown, whilst his Queen Amphidites stands by his side with other members of the court, a mixed and motley crowd depending on the imagination of those on board! The court would normally comprise of Davy Jones, a barber, a policeman and possibly a bear. Cross dressing is the order of the day!

Once the initiation ceremony is over the ‘Pollywogs’ officially become ‘Shellbacks’ and they in turn can start planning the next initiation ceremony for the next batch of ‘Pollywogs’ when the fleet cross back across the equator.


To find out more about the Oyster World Rally 2017-19 please email us at: worldrally2017@oysteryachts.com. Alternatively subscribe below for the latest news from the Oyster World Rally team.