At last, the mighty Amazon
Having seen reports about the snow storms and freezing temperatures back home in the UK, I feel a bit guilty talking about sea temperatures around 24C and air temperatures hovering just above 32C, which is what we experienced yesterday afternoon as we witness the crossing the equator ceremony. This took place at 3pm local time (6pm GMT) but the actual crossing – in a navigational sense – would not happen until 5.50am the following day, i.e. this morning. Too early to have a ceremony and hence why the fun and games began a day early.
The ceremony began with King Neptune, accompanied by his two glamorous assistants (in real life, dancers from the entertainments team) proclaiming that permission had to be sought before the equator could be crossed, and that a queen had to be selected in order to obtain this permission. So the scene was set for a "I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here"-style competition between six members of the entertainments team (not sure if they were pressed or volunteered), complete with Bush Tucker Trials to obtain exemption from being voted out for each round of the competition. A series of tasks with various levels of humiliation then ensued until only two competitors remained (Amie and Helen), who then had to find the right sequence of plastic ducks in the swimming pool that spelt out the word "A-M-A-Z-O-N". This was ultimately won by Amie, who was then crowned queen and we were subsequently given permission by King Neptune to proceed to cross the line. Needless to say, copious amounts of alcohol were consumed and a good time was had by all!
I was a bit reluctant to get up early the following morning to witness the real crossing, but Lynda (wife) wanted to be there for the countdown. We duly felt the bump as we crossed the line at 5.50am precisely, and I’m now writing this as we gradually pick up speed going downhill in the southern hemisphere.
We cleared immigration while anchored off Fazendinha, near the mouth of the Amazon, and are presently making progress to our first port of call, Santarém, where we arrive tomorrow morning (Saturday 19th January).
We’re hoping to see pink dolphins during our journey up the Amazon, and have so far spotted egrets, Amazon Swallows, a variety of colourful butterflies, and a dead cricket lying on the deck. We’re also collecting a growing number of non-fare-paying passengers, namely insects that are attracted to the ship’s lights. By all accounts we can expect to see giant moths (bigger than a human hand), and other such bugs. It should be an interesting evening!
I’ll post another update after we’ve visited Santarém.
King Neptune and helpers.
Crossing the line ceremony.