SAIL WE THE BLACK SEA
by David D. Hambleton
Sail we the Black Sea, oh, good ship and crew
SIXTH Fleet and LaSalle and Helo Det Two.
Six August left we the old Roman beach
Gaeta, our Tyrrenean coastal retreat
Long will each crewmember be able to tell
Of the Millenial ventures of the Mighty Fighting "L"
Round the Italian boot did we steam
Along azure Aegean Isles like a dream
Up the Dardanelle's inlet into old Istanbul
Where of mosques and of harems we discovered the full
Mystical and lovely was this old Crusaders grail
Where now Kebabs and carpets are most reasonably for sale
The market, it was busy and the soccer was intense
As Asia beat out Europe, in an intra-city sense
Then up through the Bosporous straits did we ride
To show off our best, America's pride.
Courting Cold-War counterparts in old Novorossiysk
We once trained to shoot one-another; tisk, tisk.
We were met by a brass band and polite company
Russians anxiously a-waiting, Americans to see.
Friendly and courteous and eager were they
Like us, to keep any old animosity at bay
Shopping was not rich by capitalist standard
But the people, they were lovely, they could not be slandered
Social life centered in some tree-lined avenues
Whose restaurants and bars brought lovely reviews
A gala affair was the reception held onboard
The best of the best for our hosts good reward
Friends made, a cup shared, and away went we to sea
For afloat gunnery exercise with our old enemy
Then off to Crimea on quiet overnight run
Watching Horatio Hornblower have a little fun
Twenty-one guns we did fire and such was returned
As entering Sevastopol we certainly were not spurned
The old Ukrain port was as polished as any ever
And their band lobbed salvos of music; how clever!
SIXTH Fleet returned to them tunes, note-for-note
(Once they were called and assembled on our boat.)
The city was delightful and the people were the best
A-schmoozing we went with the party on our deck
To thank our newfound friends, our differences to wreck
We bought many military memorabilia things
From terribler times past, of harsher happenings
Gotten also were paintings and eggs and stacked dolls
And cuisine's finest offerings along quaint harbor walls.
Sailing after swift sweet visit we headed west again
To the eastern limit of ancient Rome's domain
Constanta, Romania was our next most-gracious host
Where found we Transylvania, and the Count of Dracul's ghost
Another band, another crowd, it almost seemed old hat
Oh, humbly recall the honor, whenever you think like that.
A visit to a children's hospice we shall not soon forget
To make a gross understatement, I'll say we were well met
A smile shared, a gift given, hearts were touched indeed
But as for those hapless children, they filled our deep need
The shopping fine, the people great, a great time had we all
Who ventured to the beach or town, or up and down the mall
Another tour, another schmooze, another lapel pin in place
We are getting pretty good at showing our smiling face
Then off again we answered bells and sailed on down the coast
To lovely and charming Varna, of which Bulgarians well boast.
The beaches here were world-class, long and clean and fun
With lots of beauteous tourists, soaking up the sun
The city is a sailor's dream with drinks and shops and dinners
All priced well enough to make broke men feel like winners.
Alas and joy, here we threw the last of our Black Sea Schmoozes
Take down the Big Top; hurry folks, before the ship she cruises!
As off we go to south again to slip the Bosporous Strait
And leave behind this amazing Sea, through Turkey's natural gate.