Sailor’s Tattoos

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia
as seen  around Emily Carr University.

Sailor’s Tattoos:
    -A sailor would get a swallow for every 5000 thousand nautical miles traveled (swallows are known to travel long distances over land and sea, but always return to the same place for the mating season.)
-The pig and the rooster are tattooed on either the calves or the top of the feet to prevent a sailor from drowning. These animals were originally carried on most ships in wooden crates, when a ship goes down these crates would float and then catch currents and wash ashore with the other debris from the ship, making the pigs and roosters often the only souls to survive a shipwreck. A tattoo of a pig on the left knee and a rooster (cock) on the right foot signified “Pig on the knee, safety at sea. A cock on the right, never lose a fight.”
-A turtle standing on its back legs (shellback) for crossing the equator
-Anchor tattoo for sailing the Atlantic.
-Full rigged ship for sailing around Cape Horn
-Dragon Tattoo for a sailor who had sailed into port in China
-A Golden Dragon was for sailors who had crossed the International Date Line
-Rope around the wrist for being a dock-hand
-Two stars to ensure always knowing the way
-The anchor usually noted that the sailor was in the merchant marine.
-Guns or crossed cannon for military naval service
-Harpoons for the fishing fleet
-Crosses on the soles of one’s feet to ward off hungry sharks.
-A nautical star, or compass rose was to always find your way home.

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