Saturday, July 10, 2021

Royal Baby

Changing gears for our pig boat series from on deck bathing to line crossing festivities.  
Those were initiations for sailors who had never crossed the equator before, and they made 
old time fraternity initiations  look tame by comparison.  They usually had a "Court of King 
Neptune" with a "royal baby."  Here is the baby from the USS Narwhal's 1940 crossing.  
He's missing his baby bottle, and we probably don't want to know what that pot is for.



  1. I've Crossed the Line several times. It got wild. A two day festivity where the guys who hadn't crossed before (pollywogs, or wogs) ran amok on the outside decks. One of the more popular things to do was to strip a shellback (guy who had already crossed) naked and chase him around the ship. The day ended with a beauty contest, where the prettiest guy in each division dressed in the tiniest bikini, in full makeup would try to persuade the judges to choose him. Some guys were hilarious, giving the judges lap dances, etc. One of the judges on my ship was an Admiral, who was the hero of Leyte Gulf in WWII (this was about 30 years later).
    On the second day, the shellbacks did hardcore initiations of the hapless wogs. Running them through a gauntlet where they got whipped with cut off fire hoses, tossed into a "coffin" full of water, run through a canvas tube of rotted garbage (it was full of puke by the time I crawled through it), some other stuff, then ended with a plunge into a vat of water where you were celebrated as a Trusty Shellback. Our ship was tame compared to most. The others involved far more nudity, more violent rituals.
    Unfortunately, that's all been banned now that women are allowed on the ships. They found it too offensive. No comment.

    1. Thanks for the interesting, albeit somewhat gruesome, details. Initiations of all sorts are a type of hazing and banned in almost all settings today.