by David D. Hambleton

August, 2001


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.