Day 927: Peter and Paul Rocks

The mantle is the region of the Earth’s interior between its outer crust and its core.  It is almost 2,000 miles thick and constitutes approximately 85% of the Earth’s mass.  The Atlantic Ocean’s Peter and Paul Rocks constitute a rare example of a portion of the mantle rising to the Earth’s surface.  HMS Beagle stopped at the rocks with Charles Darwin aboard.  He studied the rocks and concluded correctly that the rocks were uplifted rather than of volcanic origin.  Laetitia’s ship cruised close enough to the rocks to take pictures but did not send boats ashore.  The rocks are currently home to a Brazilian research station.

The rocks named for Peter and Paul
Can hardly be called a landfall
Made of Mantle-rock green
Known as olivine
They barely are islands at all.

Day 926: Equator Crossing

There is a nautical tradition when a ship crosses the equator that those on board who have crossed previously (shellbacks) stage an initiation ceremony for those who haven’t (pollywogs).  The ceremony often involves hazing but on cruise ships is often milder and involves things like kissing fish.  On Laetitia’s cruise one pollywog objected to the fish-kissing part of the ceremony because she was a vegetarian.  The ceremony inspired Laetitia to write a multiple-verse limerick.

Said the shellback to the pollywog
“‘Tis a naval tradition like grog
King Neptune from the deep
Awakens from sleep
And brings fun to the salty sea dog.”

Thus, this sea ceremony of yore
Began as so often before
Pollywogs in a row
Kissing fish as they go
In this ritual drawn from ancient lore.

Said one pollywog to a shellback
“Kissing fish is an interest I lack,
Sargassum or kelp
Would be a big help
For us vegans, a favorable tack.

Then King Neptune spoke of the spate
Of parents who praise the clean plate
And poor children who wish
For a chance to kiss fish
Their osculative yearnings to sate.

His ardent words soon won the day
And the ship was once more on its way
With all shellbacks aboard
While Neptune and his hoard
Went to Davy Jones’ locker to play.

Day 925: Sperm Whales

Perhaps because of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, the sperm whale occupies a special place in nautical lore and legend.  Thus, when the bridge announced sighting a pod of five or six of these magnificent creatures, it brought everyone up on deck with binoculars and cameras.  For Laetitia and her tour group, it was one of the highlights of the repositioning cruise.

The subject of verse and of prose
Once pursued from Azores to Faroes
The iconic sperm whale
Still brings folks to the rail
Heeding that ancient cry, “Thar she blows.”

Day 924: Ship’s Laundry Afternoon Tea

According to tradition, afternoon tea came about when the Duchess of Bedford found that she had a sinking feeling in the middle of the long interval between the noon meal and fashionably late dinner at 8 pm. To counter this, she arranged for her servants to serve tea and dainty refreshments at 4 pm. The practice became popular, was adopted by Queen Victoria, and spread throughout the British Empire.

Since Laetitia’s tour group was on a repositioning cruise that had a large number of days at sea, afternoon tea was served most days.  Included was one in the laundry as part of a tour to meet some of the crew and see the ship’s work spaces. It inspired this limerick:

The ritual of afternoon tea
Is mostly on land, not at sea
And for the seafarer
It is even rarer
Where washers and driers we see.