14th of November 2019

It’s Wednesday morning and the airplane has started it’s descend towards the Christmas Island runway. From above, I’m glad to see Kwai on anchor off the jetty. Today is the day for the great crew-swap. Besides me, the engineer, first mate Carson and first time Captain Anika are signing on to take over command from Ross and Brad. The standing Kiribati crew is cleaning out cabins for the new crew that will join us to the Cook Islands.

Because Carson, Anika and me have a long standing relationship with Kwai, within no time we were settled in and started our usual routine of readying the ship for the voyage through the Cook Islands. I was glad to see a lot of long-standing Kiribati crew on board. Only Temawa, the assistant cook, is a first-timer for the Cooks.

Brad worked his miracles again and, against all odds, managed the Koil-drums to be delivered to the jetty. When also the fuel truck showed up (after breaking down and a lot of promises) to bunker 6000 liter of diesel, we threw off the dock lines and set sail at eight o’clock at night.

With only one pollywog on board we were surprised to hear the Kiribati crew themselves asking for the equator-crossing ceremony. They really are into this tradition, and we are happy to oblige.

While the boyz dragged poor pollywog Temeaua to the cargo hatch where the ‘trial’ would be performed. Part of my Neptune costume, I was wearing a giant cat-mask. Apparently Temeaua didn’t grasp the fact that it was me hiding behind the mask, because she became really shy. Addressing her in Kiribati language broke the ice, and she could (kind of) enjoy the sacrifices that she had to make. Being one of the very few Kiribati women that actually cut her long black hair, the boyz helped her to a ‘shampoo-treatment’ of bilge water and flour, to make her hair grow again. Being a single woman, she was made to drink ‘love-potion’ to make her irresistible to future husbands.