USS New Orleans Shellback Initiation
Underway From Home Port San Diego CA
It has been a long naval tradition for King Neptune's favored servents "Shellbacks" to initiate lowly land lubbing slime called "Pollywogs" into the Kingdom of Neptune - the legendary god of the seas, upon their first crossing of the Equator. Origins of the ceremony have been difficult to trace.  The Vikings would carry out rituals for their gods when crossing certain parallels. This is the first record of a "Sailors Baptism" at sea. Another source of information claims that during the 17th century when entering the Straits of Gibraltar, all those who were entering for the first time had to pay their fee or else be dunked from the yardarm. This over the years changed to the Equator and Greek Mythology was added to most likley give the ceremoney a mythical reverence.

Captains of ships take time, either in war or peace, to uphold this long practiced tradition. This site is made for all those who have been initiated into the Royal Order of Trusty Shellbacks and for those who can only wish to be included in this domain of heatry seafarers. 

Most of these pictures were taken by me or friends of mine during the '83 & '84 WESTPACS (Western Pacific Cruise). I can't remember what pictures go with which crossing. Some are from the 1983 WESTPAC Cruise Book.
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