| I left the city when just a lad,
Times were hard and no work to be had,
So I went to sea in the Flora Belle,
Little did I know 'twas a ship from hell.
The ship was old and leaking at the seams,
A dirty old tub somewhat broad in the beam,
Its sails were torn, some planks were rotten,
She lay at the wharf a gently rockin.
I've sailed from Auckland to the Bluff
A thousand miles and that's enough
A thousand miles on the heaving sea
Glory Hal-le-lu' that's enough for me
| We set sail on the evening tide.
It was early on a Saturday night.
All went well till the Tiri light
And then by God I got a fright
The ship was hit by a big beam sea
Christ, I thought, it's all up for me;
She rolled & she lollopped like a big tin drum
Hell! I swore my time had come.
|"Shorten sails" the skipper cried
"Shorten the sails or you buggers will all die.
Get aloft, get aloft, right up the mast
Get aloft, get aloft, and get up there fast."
Never in my life had I been so scared
Never in my life had I wished I was dead
But I climbed up the mast and I shortened sail
Then I climbed down again & was sick o'er the rail.
| Man the pumps, the skipper roared.
Man the pumps or you'll see the ocean floor.
So I pumped all night 'til my hands were raw,
I pumped & I pumped 'til the coming of the dawn.
How I survived that night I don't know,
The wind it did roar & the wind it did blow,
But the sun came up & the sea went down,
The wind disappeared and we headed south
| For breakfast we had mouldy bread
Lunch it was the very same fare
For supper we had a stinking stew
Cookie couldn't eat his own damn brew.
Skipper was an old man, old & mean,
Tough as nails and just as lean.
Voice like a foghorn in the gloom,
When he cursed it was the voice of doom.
| The work was hard & the fee was mean.
The food was rotten; the quarters none too clean
The journey south was always rough
So I jumped ship when we pulled into Bluff
So here in Bluff I've settled down,
Never again will I leave this town.
Never again will I go to sea,
Never again will it see me.
Posted With Permission