His Majesty

14 09 2015

The sea is a vast and mostly unknown part of our world. There are mysteries tucked away in the deep dark corners of the sea that will remain unseen and unknown. As a collective, we know far more about our immediate celestial neighbours that we do about lies a meager 1 mile below the surface of the waves.

The one thing that is known by all sailors, no matter what race, colour or creed, is who rules below the waves-

His Majesty, King Neptune

Any sailor who sets out upon the waters knows that His Majesty is watching, we journey under His watchful eye, and the eyes of those, his trusted servants, the Shellbacks.

I was privileged to be taken into His service a long time ago, when the ship I was on ventured across the equator while enroute to Ecuador. This is what I remember of that day

I had the First watch, that meaning I was up on the Bridge from 2000 until 0001 doing my job of listening to the radio for any signals passed by other ships. As there were no other ships with us, the radio remained silent – that watch was spent fighting off Mr Sandman. The ship was cruising at 18 kts, on a course of 180. All was peaceful, the ship was gliding through a dead calm sea, the stars were twinkling and even the Yeoman was in a good mood (on this ship, the Yeoman was always cranky – a very good leader he always took care of his people, he was just always cranky)

All was peaceful and serene, nothing to worry about until the ship hit a speed bump….. what the hell? a speed bump in the middle of the ocean? I had just looked at the charts, there was at least a mile of nothing below the keel and if it had been a submarine we had hit, there would have been a seriously loud kaboom.

The Captain looked seriously worried and immediately ordered the ship the Emergency Stations, if we had hit something there was a good chance the ship would have suffered some damage and it was a long way to swim to shore from where we were. In short order the ship woke up, with everyone looking for any hint of damage. All reports came in as Negative. Then the ship was halted, as if someone had reached down and grabbed her in a tractor beam and a the bow was lit up in a display of coloured lights and sea spray.

A lone figure emerged from the spray and called out in a voice that shook the ship “WHERE ARE YOU BOUND CAPTAIN?

The captain replied “Ecuador ”


“Quartermaster, sound the general call, muster all hands to the focsal”

“Aye Aye Sir”

Davey Jones? Who was he? And what power did he have to hold us from our destination?

In short order the ships crew was mustered on the focsal. I was warm and tired from a long day, damn it, just let me go to sleep. Then a chorus of hours blew and from behind a curtain of spray came Davey Jones, with a herald and honor guard.

“Captain, His Majesty has been watching your journey and demands to know your intentions.”

“Sir, we are bound for Ecuador and wish to pass our journey with His Majesty’s blessing.”

“His Majesty grants you an audience but beware, should he find any of your crew not fit, you shall know his wrath.”

Davey Jones wandered through the ranks, inspecting each one of us and he found something to be upset about in all of us. When he got to me he was so disgusted he had his herald slap me with a fish. Now I was dead tired, felt miserable and smelled like a 5 day old dead thing. This was turning out to be a right miserable day.

“Captain, this is the most miserable collection of sea slime that I have ever had the misfortune to witness. Get them presentable before you bring them before His Majesty.”

“It will be as you wish.”

Davey Jones went down the forward hatch, presumably to inspect the rest of the ship and the rest of us were set to making ourselves presentable – all loose threads tucked away, some extra shine on our boots and a buzz cut.

After a very long night and a very unappetizing breakfast, I was feeling distinctly unwell. We were all mustered on the quarterdeck and were told His Majesty was approaching. A very loud and off key chorus of horns sounded and His Majesty and his court took their places on the stage in front of us. He had brought a barber, a doctor, 3 mermaids (I wasn’t so sure of my eyesight but one of them looked very much like the Yeoman) and his Herald.

One by one we were each marched up to His Majesty and our short comings were announced. Then the doctor came up to us, announced that we were sick and filthy, unfit to be called to court. When I was brought forth I was really feeling down about it all. Here I was, sick, stinky (remember that fish from the night before?) and tired. One of the guards decided that I hadn’t bowed properly so he decided that smacking me with the fish would set me straight – some people wonder why I am not crazy about fish….

The doctor stepped forward and proclaimed I was filthy and needed medication so he popped a very spicy pill into my mouth, made me swallow and instructed two of the guards to have me cleaned. The guards took me by the arms and pitched me over the side. It is amazing just how invigorating a 20 foot dive can be. After I surfaced I felt amazing – I was alive, I was clean, and I WAS WORTHY. I climbed back on board and His Majesty promoted me to the rank of Shellback at which point I was given the job to make the next guy in line clean.

The court took about an hour to complete at which point His Majesty deemed that we were fit to be upon his domain and granted us permission to continue our journey. He took his court forward and we were left to clean the ship. After the clean up of court was completed, the CO made the order to have the BBQ brought out.  A few beers, a few steaks and all was good in the world once again

Several years later, when the ship I was on approached the equator, I knew all was going to be well as I was a Shellback, and thus worthy. What happened that night must not be repeated…




2 responses

14 09 2015
Fran Greene

I love it!
Such detail-I can almost smell the ocean.

14 09 2015

I am glad you can’t smell that fish

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