A Boat Trip

by Alison McFaul
Audio version recorded by Alison McFaul

Aboard the Celtic Mor, 
We head away from Rathlin’s shore
Towards Bengore in dark of night 
Leaving behind all twinkling light
The flash of Red and green and white.


 The East Light slides from view  
And soon we see the light at Rue. 
Towards  the west  we tilt and tip,  
Carried on waves that rise and dip.
The flood tide bears us in its grip. 

The West’s  red  beam, broadside,  
that guides ships in from ocean wide
Winks warning light on rocky stack
And now –  above the island black
The merest gleam – a daylight crack. 

Off Bengore Head we slow 
And look for marker buoy to tow. 
The line’s been cut and needs repair
So boys work fast, with skill and care
And set creels back to catch their share. 

On past the Causeway Coast 
Where  fog slips, silent as a ghost,  
As rising sun warms up the sky.
And now The Skerries catch the eye.
We chug along and then they‘re by. 

Ports  Rush and Stewart  too
Are soon behind in distant view 
As River Bann approach  is made 
And navigation plans are laid
With depth plotters used for  visual aid. 

The Bar mouth is so narrow
The Bann channel is so shallow 
Against the sun, a blinding beam, 
Brave Benji steers his boat and team
‘Tween marker buoys, against the stream. 

We wait for trains to pass
Then watch the bridge lift up at last.
All has gone well – what can go wrong? 
Arrived at docks and didn’t take long.
The lifting crane waits – high and strong. 

Oh No! Our little ship 
(The only reason for our trip) 
Is far too heavy for the crane.  
Alarms sound when it takes the strain 
We empty all it may contain. 

But still there’s too much weight. 
So all the boys can do is wait. 
Till tide will lift and she can go
On slipway trolley, safe and slow.
Liam and I must wait to know. 

A taxi waits outside
But we find we are locked inside
A phone call soon gets gate unlocked
We all escape  –  a little shocked! 
By end of day the boat’s dry docked. 

Alison McFaul