Ocean of the Free
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.