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Briefly about the crossing the equator:

On sea voyages, the crossing of the equator is traditionally marked by a ceremony known as ‘crossing the line’. The ceremony is thought to have its origins in a Viking ritual carried out when crossing the 30th parallel. By the seventeenth century the tradition was established in the British and other navies of the world and [...]

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Posts related to: crossing the equator

Week 12 – Crossing the line

1849 sketch of a sailor trying to catch a porpoise while standing on the bowsprit of the ship

As the Duke of York nears the Equator the crew hopes to have a bit of fun. Crossing the Line ceremonies were common on sailing vessels and often involved ‘King Neptune’ coming on board to ‘baptise’ first timers.  Crew members and passengers might be ‘shaved’ with big mock razors and all by-standers were often doused with water. But [...]

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Week 13 – tensions reach breaking point

Sketch of the Cygnet at anchorage, Port Augusta, April 1833.

This week we catch up with the Cygnet as it approaches the Equator. A bout of bad weather has seen many of the passengers sick and conditions below deck are foul. Boyle Travers Finniss is impatient with what he sees as the ‘apathy’ of the passengers and decides on a thorough clean up, despite the reluctance [...]

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Week 15 – high drama on the John Pirie

Scene: sunday before a hard gale

  It is a week of high drama on board the John Pirie. First bad weather whips up heavy seas. The passengers all huddle on deck trying vainly to escape the leaks, only to be drenched by a sudden wave that washes right over them. This frightens the ship’s cat so much that he leaps overboard [...]

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Week 16 – towards Australia

Scene: a fair wind and cross sea

Both the Duke of York and the John Pirie are now steering south east towards Australia, a novelty they appreciate.  Although it brings bad weather and rough conditions, the travellers on the John Pirie also welcome the cooler conditions, after being ‘almost stew’d alive for a Month’. There is an interesting comment here on the trying conditions of everyday life [...]

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