Baptism Ceremony on board CV Centaurus

Baptism Ceremony

The first Baptism ceremony I have ever attended was my own. It took place during my second voyage at sea, while crossing the Equator, from North to South, under way to the island of Mauritius. It was planned and arranged by the Montenegrin captain who acted only as an observer, but put his idea into action, with the help of the Filipino crew. It was a fun and emotional ceremony, done by the book and including the cleanse – with soap and sea water, the miraculous drink – a cocktail containing red wine, sea water and orange juice, in equal proportions, the certificate of recognition and the party in the end. It is one of the dearest moments of my life at sea, an experience I will always treasure and for which I will be forever grateful.

HS Columbia

After that, I had the privilege of taking part in more ceremonies of this kind – for crossing the Equator or for the first voyage at sea – but from the position of an organizer, adviser or on board photographer. I have to admit that I always felt the nostalgia of my own baptism and I always got emotional seeing the candidates, curious and excited before the ceremony – for not knowing what to expect,  a little scared – during the process and happy and proud in the end. It is a feeling every real seafarer must experience at the beginning of his/her career at sea, but unfortunately, not all of them are lucky enough to do so.

During my voyages at sea, I organized Baptism ceremonies for young cadets – who were for the first time on the vessel and for senior officers – who either hadn’t had the opportunity of receiving a ceremony at the beginning of their career, or had to sail for many years until crossing the Equator. I also organized ceremonies for some passengers who embarked on our vessels and who asked for such a ceremony during their trips. It was a real pleasure for me to do so, and a great privilege. During these ceremonies, I usually had to arrange ‘Baptism certificates’ for one, two, even 5 candidates.

On board CV Centaurus, I broke all my personal records because I had to arrange/organize a Baptism Ceremony for 11 crew members – almost all the Filipino Crew, except one – the second officer.

Our intention to organize a Baptism Ceremony was announced on board, 2 weeks before crossing the Equator. At the beginning, our plan was to baptize only one of the galley boys – the youngest person on board who was for the first time on a vessel. After a few days, another guy told us that he would like to get baptized as well. We couldn’t say ‘no’. The more candidates, the happier the gang. After one week, the list got bigger, more and more names enlisted – some admitting that they had never had a ceremony before (although sailing for many years), others saying that they had a ceremony, but no certificates were given to them and how they can prove to their families that they actually had one.

So, in a wonderful afternoon at the end of January, two weeks after my embarkation, my husband – having the role of Neptune, and I – as his assistant and photographer offered these brave sailors the ‘rituals of cleansing and re-birthing’ , the ‘most wanted’ Baptism Certificates and the well-deserved barbeque party with excellent food and good music.

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

The ceremony was fun and emotional, at the same time, everybody was happy in the end, except the European members of our deck and engine departments who either didn’t bother to show up, or kept their distance during the process. Unfortunately, most of the officers ( Especially Europeans) consider these kind of ceremonies only children games and refuse to take part in them. I don’t understand where is the harm in any of ‘these children games’ especially during long and difficult voyages where there are few occasions of having fun, socializing and disconnecting from work.

Baptism Ceremony

Baptism Ceremony

Everybody has the right to do as he/she feels regarding these ceremonies. As for me, I will always look for any opportunity to organize Baptism Ceremonies on board, I will always take ‘my work’ seriously and I will always enjoy them to the fullest.

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