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RFA Wave Knight crosses the line to the Southern Hemisphere

3 April 2017

For the first time since leaving the UK on her Atlantic deployment, RFA Wave Knight has crossed the equator.

For 16 members of the ship’s crew this was their first time doing so and as such they had to complete the rite-of-passage “Crossing the Line” ceremony, before the court of King Neptune himself.

What made this Crossing the Line more unusual than most was it took place on the Vernal Equinox, meaning Wave Knight experienced Winter, then Spring, then Autumn in the same day, as she passed into the Southern hemisphere.

After boarding the ship up the Hawse pipe at 2pm sharp, King Neptune himself was greeted by the ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Karl Woodfield RFA.

It was one of the more unusual days I have had since joining the RFA.

Apprentice (E) Daniel Marshall

Those who had not crossed the Equator previously attended Neptune’s court to have the “freedom of the seas” conferred upon them.

This involved being tested to ensure they were capable of “handling rough seas” and as per tradition involved being painted, fed a less than appetising snack, and then subsequently dunked in the ship’s homemade swimming pool. 

King Neptune – SG1(A) Granville Jones, completing his final sea going appointment  before retirement, commented, “I’ve crossed the line many times in my career and it is always a great day on-board; not only is it part of our tradition but it is a lot fun, and it was great to be King Neptune.”

In contrast Apprentice (E) Daniel Marshall, who is the youngest member of the ship’s crew and on his first sea appointment, said “It was one of the more unusual days I have had since joining the RFA; I am looking forwards to doing it again next time without the prospect of being dunked!”

The Crossing the Line was not the only reason the ship’s company had to celebrate, after raising £565 to sponsor the North Tyneside Association Swimming Club’s “Mad March Hare Gala”, which took place over the 25th and 26th March 2017, after it was brought to the attention of the ship’s crew by CPO(E) Martin Bell, who has a daughter who is a competitive swimmer for the club.

The annual event in Durham brings approximately 400 young swimmers together to compete for medals in a wide range of races and requires voluntary donations to make the event happen.

The ship’s donation meant RFA Wave Knight was the biggest sponsor of the event and helped to ensure it was a success, encouraging young people to keep healthy and take part in competitive sport.

To celebrate “Crossing the Line” and their recent charity success, a BBQ was subsequently held on the ship’s flight deck as the crew looked forwards to the next phase of her deployment.

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