I left the city when just a lad,
Times were hard and no work to be had,
So I went to sea on 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 rot-ten,
It lay at the wharf a-gent-ly rock-in'.
I've sailed from Auckland to the Bluff
A thousand miles and that's enough
A thousand miles on the heaving sea
Glory Hallelu' 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 was all up for me;
She rolled and 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,
And I climbed down again and 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 though me hands were raw,
And I pumped and I pumped till the coming of the dawn;
How we survived that night I don't know,
The wind it did roar and the wind it did blow;
But the sun came up and the wind went down,
The wind it did ease, and we headed South.
For breakfast we had mouldy bread
For lunch we had the very same fare;
Supper was a stinking stew,
Cookie couldn't eat his own damn brew;
The skipper was an old man, old and mean,
Tough as nails and just as lean;
A voice like a foghorn in the gloom,
When he cursed was the voice of doom.
The work was hard and the pay was mean,
The food was rotten and our quarters none too clean;
A journey south was always rough,
So I jumped the 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!