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05 Nov - The 'Justice' of King Neptune

RRS Ernest Shackleton Diary

Position @ 1200 UTC - 2 hours: 14°07' South. 35°38' West.
Next destination: Montevideo, South America.
ETA: 12th November 2000, 1600 UTC.
Distance to go: 2518.1 nautical miles.
Total Distance Sailed: 3818.9 nautical miles (Since departing Hull, England on 19 October 2000).
Current weather: Hot, bright, but overcast. A Good day.
Wind: North-north-easterly Force 4.
Sea state: Slight sea and low swell.
Air temperature: 30.3°C.

This week's epic showing:- 'Look who's coming to Dinner ?'
Starring: a cast of thousands (well,.. 25 actually).

Cast in Alphabetical Order
King Neptune: Davie 'Blue seaweed is all the fashion' Brentland
Queen Neverateeti: Jason 'those can't be real' Codd
Judge: Michael 'Fined ! - 2 cases of beer' Quinn
Prosecutor: Steve 'Off with their heads' Buxton
Doctor: Andrew 'it's not what you do with it, it's the size that counts' Liddell
Barber: Mark 'Tugs, and pulls the hair' Taylor
Dolly Grip: Charles 'hose 'em down' Chalk
Best boy: Jason Codd again
Cameraman 1: Davey 'click click' Taylor
Cameraman 2: Richard 'whirr whirr' Casson
Makeup: Chris Littlehales
Security: Robin 'thievin' Kilroy
Tea: Derek Lee
Hair Design: Tugs Beaufonts Inc
Mr.Neptune's Body Stand in: A kipper
Decorative scroll

This gripping drama tells a story of conflict upon the high seas ! Don't miss the thrills and excitement of this classic example of cinematography at its best. You'll laugh as the hero defies the might of the BAS..ish navy. You'll cry at the plight of the damsel in distress. You'll quake with fear at the masochism displayed by the nautical Master and you'll cheer as the hero comes through his ordeal triumphant !

' Unbelievable ' says the Sun. 'A modern day classic' says The Times. 'Crossing the 'what' ceremony???' says everyone else. This is a * * * * rated epic brought to you by the director of such classic titles as ' We've just done Dry Docking on the Tyne' and 'Whoops, Mr.Gatti, there goes another Penguin'. A truly televisual feast. At all good cinemas (and a few bad ones) for one day only.

After yet another week constantly at sea, the good ship RRS Ernest Shackleton bumped over the Equator at 02.00 hours on Thursday 2 November 2000. But it was not until the following Saturday 4 November that the festivities could begin. With Director 'Davey Taylor' in his Director's chair, the cameras started to roll to record the event of the century or at least the events of the afternoon.

Preparations for the afternoon were not wanting. The crew had been very busy during all available off-duty hours for days in advance to prepare for the traditional visitation of the Sea's greatest celebrity, King Neptune of the Seven Oceans. Unbeknown to our royal guest, the 'chippie' had been chipping, the engineers had been weaving, the sparkie had been wig-making and the 'deckies' had been improvising to provide whatever props they could muster. (Aside) What I always find amazing after years at sea, is the ingenuity with which lonely (and bored?) sailors can put together costumes from the most basic 'ingredients' on board. They will beg, steal or borrow almost anything, and the results are usually impressive. The props department this year boasted an impressive 2 metre-long cut-throat razor, a particularly 'bloody' trident (has anybody seen the new movie 'Gladiator' ?) and a whole array of gavels, briefs, wigs, cloaks, truncheons, helmets and crowns that would put the Hollywood 'properties' department to shame !. The results speak for themselves, and at 1445 hours on a sunny Saturday afternoon, all were paraded in front of the Master for a snap inspection prior to the arrival of our most honoured guests Mr and Mrs King Neptune.

The Master of the RRS Ernest Shackleton inspects King Neptune and Queen Neverateeti

Click on the image to enlarge Queen Neverateeti's vital statistics...

In the movies there is always a hero and a heroine, but there are also the bad guys. The guys whom you love to hate and who are always one step ahead of the law. This movie was to be no different. And what a bunch of villains we had to parade before the Royal personage of King Neptune this year. Three of the four Fidlets aboard travelling south were travelling across the Equator for the very first time by the seaward route. Flying across it at 30,000ft just does not qualify. However, we also had one crew member who had eluded his date with Neptune in earlier seasons, and therefore made up the balance of the four guilty parties. It was to this end that King Neptune travels in the company of an entourage of lawyers, doctors, assistants and a small constabulary force, and all were put to good service on Saturday afternoon.

Once King Neptune had arrived and introduced his bride to the Captain of the vessel, Capt Stuart Lawrence, they were offered all the hospitality that RRS Ernest Shackleton had to offer. A cold beer and a seat in the King's Court. The Court was convened at approximately 1500 hours with King Neptune himself presiding !. All was ready to begin, but WHERE WERE THE BAD GUYS ???

Suspicions were high that there had been a 'tip off', as the bad guys on board had apparently scattered to the four winds. It was then, that King Neptune despatched his constabulary to search high and low, on board and over-board for signs of the Nautical 'first-timers'. A police force of some ten men went in search of the first of the victims, and would you believe, were largely unable to trace any one of the four of them ???

The first of them was finally apprehended after being spotted by the Master of the vessel himself. Dr Thomas 'the Butcher' Rieley was located and hunted down in the infirmary where he had gone 'under-cover' in a particularly over-flowing bathtub of medical supplies. Hidden beneath this camouflage of untidiness, the Doctor had managed to remain undetected until his own impatience got the better of him. Once apprehended, vengeance was swift. He was hauled off to the King's Court to be imprisoned in the Dock and have justice dealt upon him.

Secondly, a slippery customer, Mr Andrew McConnachie was found lurking in the ship's sauna - or should I say 'underneath it' ! Completely overlooked (several times) by the inept police force, it took repeated attempts and some many minutes to locate Mr Andrew grovelling under benches and in places where only cockroaches and similar kindred vermin would be found !

Thirdly, Mr Gary Middleton - who was the sneakiest of them all - was apprehended while trying to escape the long arm of the law by simply sunbathing ! On the uppermost deck of the bridge, Mr Gary simply laid himself down in the sun and along the bridge windows, hidden only from view by a low window sill and the obviousness of the very place he was hiding. Who could dream that right under the very watchful gaze of the Chief of Officers on the bridge, Mr Gary was lounging unsuspected by anyone visiting the bridge or looking out of the window to the panorama beyond ? Our radars can pick up a small target up to 100 nautical miles away, but it is powerless to illuminate a sneaky FID laying only half a metre away !

The Fourth victim was none other than Queen Neverateeti, who happened to be sitting next to the Royal King Neptune throughout the entire proceedings. Talk about a spy in our midst ! Yes, the final twist to the movie was that the heroine was indeed no heroine at all, but Mr.Jason Codd and a wolf in ship's clothing !!! When finally unmasked, he too was given the full vengeance of the court. The arm of the law is long.

The court of King Neptune

The Court: Comprised of the illustrious body of men (so it turned out to be) of the King, the Queen (the Quisling), the judge and the prosecutor. Justice was swift and merciless. Such were the crimes !

Dr Tom in the dock Mr Gary and the full force of the law Queen Jason gets his just deserts

In the Dock, on the Stand, and Punished !. Dr Tom, Mr Gary and Queen Jason get their just deserts,...


Here is an excerpt of�the type of grievous charges laid against the guilty parties. Not one of them had a chance of getting-off, indeed, none of them even had a defence attorney ! Now that is what I call justice !

My Lord King Neptune, this man before your court is called to answer for himself in the case of being in possession of a particularly LOUD chequered shirt in a tropical area after the hours of darkness....

Can you deny Doctor Thomas Riley / Reiley / Railey that you are in possession of a totally difficult-to-spell surname ? That you have made no apology to the court for possession of such a name, and that moreover, you have in loco parentis, condoned your parents use of it ?

Owing to the seriousness of these particular crimes, the court has no alternative but to impose the most severe sentence on you that the court can dispel. You are hereby subject to the full will and might of his royal personage King Neptune of the Seven oceans.

And may God have mercy upon your soul...

Of course, once that justice had been seen to be done, there was time for general rejoicing, a Bar-b-que on the Helideck at nighttime and of course the usual finger-printing and taking Police photographs for the records. Would you let your daughters go out with the likes of these reprobates ? The streets (and the seas) are a safer place, thanks to the long arm of the law and the justice of King Neptune of the Seven Oceans.

The convicts

Click on the image to send these convicts to prison for life !

Forthcoming events: The sequel movie 'Sea Wars II - The Fidlets Strike Back'. Don't miss this exciting follow up to the original movie with more of your favourite characters, more stunning special effects and a musical score second to none. Well particularly 'none' at all. But you can't expect so much on a low-budget movie like that brought to you this week. The sequel is expected to be out in time for the Summer releases next year. Don't miss it.


Contributors this week : Everybody on board. A sparkling effort made by everybody which made the proceeding a great success, and we welcome Messrs Rieley, Middleton, McConnachie and Codd into the illustrious and long-established club of mariners !

Thanks to the technical support team in Cambridge for the patience and kind help in producing last week's web-page which was fraught with technical problems. Thank you. (Ed).

All on board would like to wish all their loved ones a belated and happy Guy Fawkes Night. We hope it was enjoyable and safe for one and all.

Diary 4 will be written on 12th November 2000 and should be published on 13th November 2000

Steve B November 05th, 2000