Ocean of the Free

The Oban Times - - Letters -

The sailors of the He­brides, they rule the ocean breeze Their an­chor weighed, they work their trade upon the seven seas. Cap­tains, boatswains, en­gi­neers, their skill and craft they ply - The mer­chant navy is­land men are sea­men till they die. From the har­bours of Van­cou­ver to San Fran­cisco Bay, Down the western coast of Chile, round Cape Horn they sail away; Across the South At­lantic, through vi­o­lent wave and squall Up the coast of Mada­gas­car to the dark Bay of Ben­gal. Cho­rus Heave away, heave away, on the ocean of the free The is­land men set sail again, the he­roes of the sea. Three times round the world be­fore turn­ing twenty- one, Lone­li­ness and hard­ship lived, but com­rade­ship and fun, Tales of pil­fered cargo and wild times when ashore From the moon­shine of Alaska to the lights of Sin­ga­pore. I re­call the great ex­cite­ment as the sto­ries would un­furl Other places, other races and a wide view of the world. Th­ese men who tramp the waves bring ed­u­ca­tion to us all, A rich­ness of per­spec­tive and an out­look never small. From Rio de Janeiro to the Gulf of Mex­ico, Past the warm coast of Cuba to the frozen north they’ll go; By the Faroe Is­lands, the North­ern Lights will dance Through the icy Arc­tic wa­ters to the shel­ter of Mur­mansk. On the reefers and the tankers and the great con­tainer ships - You’ll al­ways find a sailor with Gaelic on his lips. The coast­ers and the fer­ries, the sup­ply boats and the tugs The finest sea­men of them all - the sea is in their blood.

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