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Published: March 14th 2008
The people of Guadalcanal are smaller in stature to the people of PNG. Beatle nut is still chewed in PNG and young men’s teeth are just stubs. Older men have none at all and many of the women and children chew.
The UFO (unidentified floating object) was identified as a marine tracking device, perhaps tracking tuna or whales.
The most seriously injured passenger from the scaffold collapse was a very, very heavy 48-year-old man who is on dialysis. He will be disembarked at Guam. His cabin is not handicapped equipped; the doorway is not wide enough for a wheel chair so he has to crawl to the door in order to get to his dialysis appointments.
There are many Aussies and Kiwis on board. They are good-natured friendly people and I really enjoy talking to them.
The lectures present a balanced presentation of the accomplishments and failures on all sides. Many American are not happy as they thought they won the war singlehanded. Strangely, MacArthur is still a controversial figure. During Q&A session, a jerk asked the lecturer if we would continue to be subjected to snide anti-MacArthur remarks. The boos were resounding! Who said lectures were dull?
Crossing the equator for the first time is cause for celebration. King Neptune comes on board accompanied by the mermaid companion. Those who have not crossed before, pollywogs are rounded up and must be judged worthy to be shellbacks.
We gathered around the aft pool in the noonday sun as crewmember pollywogs were herded to a pen by pirates and drenched with pails of water. The audience was more then willing to change places by this time. The ships officers were seated under umbrellas along side the pool.
The pollywogs were presented to King Neptune the charges were read. Room stewards were accused of smiling to much, the 4th engineer was charged with being to Dutch, the 4th Mate was accused with eating too much cheese and thus being responsible for foul odors on the bridge.
First, the pollywogs had to kiss the fish. In old days this was a fish that had been left in the sun for a couple of days. Not so bad today but it still didn’t look pleasant. Then they were led to a table, forced to lie down and where they were well and truly slimed. Crewmembers dressed as doctors and nurses spread melted sherbets, spaghetti in Alfred and marinara sauces and breadcrumbs on the poor pollywogs, slimed from head to too and all places in between. Then the ships officers voted on the final punishment, thumbs up to bake in the sun or thumbs down, into the pool. I’m sure they all wanted thumbs down but not all were so lucky.
As the ceremony ended, pirates, nurses, doctors and all pollywogs (now shellbacks) jumped or were tossed or pushed into the pool.
Yours truly hurried to the Lido pool and spent the next thirty minutes cooling off.
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