4 May 2010 9 Comments

Auckland to the Bluff

Written by the legendary NZ Shantyman Rudy Sunde (c) 1991 ish

I left the city when just a lad
Times were hard and no work to be had
So I went to sea on the Florabelle
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
It lay at the wharf a-gently rocking

I’ve sailed from Auckland to the Bluff
A thousand miles and that’s enough
A thousand miles on the heaving sea
Glory Halleju 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
Then by God I got a fright

The ship was hit by a big beam sea
Christ I thought it was all up with me
She rolled and she lolloped like a big tin drum
Hell I thought me time had come

[Chorus]

Shorten sails the skipper cried
Shorten sails or you buggers will all die
Get aloft get aloft get 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 the mast and shortened sail
Then I climbed down again and was sick o’er the rail

[Chorus]

Man the pumps the skipper roared
Man the pumps or you’ll sail the ocean floor
So I pumped all night though my 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 sea went down
The wind did ease and we headed south

[Chorus]

For breakfast we had mouldy bread
For lunch it was the very same fare
For supper we had a stinking stew
Cookie couldn’t eat his own damned brew

The skipper was an old man old and mean
Tough as nails and just as lean
Voice like a foghorn in the gloom
When he cursed was a voice of doom

[Chorus]

The work was hard and the pay was mean
The food was rotten and the quarters none too clean
The journey south was always rough
So I jumped the ship when we pulled into Bluff

So here in Bluff I’ll settle down
Never again will I leave this town
Never again will I go to sea
Never again will it see me

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