Life on and off the ship has been quite eventful since my last post. We had Neptune day last week and then two days later we had one day off the ship in Mauritius. As I realize that we have less than 40 days on this adventure it blows my mind that I have no idea where the time has gone. However, there are still countless activities planned, things to learn, and opportunities to experience before I disembark from this journey.
Neptune Day is a day on the ship that celebrates us crossing the equator. We are officially in the Southern Hemisphere of the world and it’s quite an accomplishment. We had no classes and it was a day devoted to the celebration of crossing the equator. The night before they had a party on the ninth deck for us. To my surprise, the party was actually a lot of fun. It was pretty much all of the students together on the top deck dancing and hanging out. There was about a three-minute downpour so everyone was soaking and singing “Let the Rain Fall Down” by Hillary Duff, it was really fun. Since we knew we didn’t have classes the next day a group of us hung around until almost 03:00 just talking and hanging out after the party. It’s nights like these that I love on this ship because we just hang around talking and dancing like idiots and the next thing we know it’s the middle of the night. However, we knew we had Neptune Day in the morning so we wanted some rest.
The next morning began with the “ Shellbacks” (people who have previously crossed the equator with the ship) and crew banging on pots and pans, beating on our doors, and running up and down the halls in order to wake us up. We were wide-awake and ready to get the festivities started after that lovely wake up call. All of the days activities were on the ninth deck so we spent all day outside by the pool and around the ninth deck. In order to become an official shellback and complete the ceremonial duties there are a number of things you get to participate in. These rites of passage include: getting fish guts poured on your head, swimming across the pool, kissing a dead/skinned fish, kissing the Captain’s Neptune ring, and then being knighted and officiated as an official shellback. It sounds very corny but it was actually a lot of fun. However, there was a tradition that neither Paige nor I took part in, shaving our heads. There were about 60 students who shaved their heads; roughly 20 of those were girls. Yes, they shaved all of their hair off. I could never imagine doing that but some girls braved up and did it. Watching them shave their heads was enough for me. The rest of the day was spent hanging around with friends and bragging about our achievement of being a shellback. The evening festivities consisted of a Karaoke night. This was absolutely hilarious and I am so grateful for nights like these on the ship. The next two days were filled with classes of official shellbacks and a little tanning before we hit Mauritius. Unfortunately for me, I fell asleep outside on deck nine and got a pretty bad burn but that didn’t stop me from having a blast in Mauritius. However, it did remind me that the sun is stronger since we’re so close to the equator and how important sunscreen is.
Port Louis, Mauritius was an absolute blast. Unfortunately we only had one day, I would have loved to spend more time, but I loved it. We chose to go on the Catamaran Escape field program and that was the best choice we’ve made. Of course we went with the sisters and it was such a great time. On this escape we got to ride a giant catamaran with four local Mauritians guiding us along. The four of us got the best seats, which were on the front nets of the boat. We cruised around the gorgeous Mauritian waters for a while until we hit a prime snorkeling spot. The water was a glassy, crystal clear aqua. Caroline and Paige jumped in first off the back of the catamaran. Based on their screams you would think a shark bit all of their limbs off. They were just shocked at the amount of fish that were in the water; there was no real issue. There were so many fish in the water and our presence did not bother them one bit. We had our snorkeling gear on and could see the different sea creatures right below our faces. It was unreal. The water was so salty that if you just laid back then you could float, no matter your size so we floated around for a while. Of course I can make anything a competition so once we got bored of floating we started seeing who could make it to the bottom first. However, it was a lot harder than it seems. Since the water was so clear it was hard to tell how deep it really was and once you got down the pressure would hurt your ears but of course I had to do it.
We had such a blast messing around in the water but had to get out for lunch, and I’m sure glad we did. Don’t get me wrong, the ship food is good but sometimes it gets old. Lunch on the catamaran was like a barbecue back home and it was delicious. After lunch we cruised on the catamaran for a little while longer until we stopped at another snorkeling spot. The water was still just as pretty in the new spot but the currents were a little bit stronger. But that didn’t stop us as we continued to snorkel and explore the new water. We laughed a whole lot but it was time to head back. However, the fun times didn’t stop there. Our Mauritian catamaran drivers turned on some American music on the way back to the dock and the entire boat started dancing and continuing the good times.
Overall our time spent on Neptune Day and in Mauritius was time well spent. It continues to amaze me everyday that I am on such an incredible journey. The things I’m learning and the memories I’m making are going to last a lifetime and I am so thankful to be on such an incredible journey. We’re headed to Cape Town, South Africa and I absolutely can not wait to see what my days there offer me.