One of the biggest initiations a sailor can undergo is the crossing the equator. Legend tells that at the moment the ship crosses, King Neptune and his court will come on board to induce the “Pollywogs” into the mysteries of the Deep. Physical tasks and challenges will have to be fulfilled and the new seaman will have to answer to Neptune to attest their bravery and courage.
After the Pollywogs have undergone the initiation they can count themselves to the noble ranks of the Shellbacks, the able seaman who have crossed the equator before. Traditionally after the ceremony a sailor is allowed to receive a Shellback turtle tattoo.
On their adventures the Dutch Tall Ships regularly cross the equator and King Neptune visits on every occasion.