Blue Peter Catalunya Spirit

It really was a fine day when we first set out to sea
On the Catalunya Spirit, my good friend Juan and me.
It should have been an easy trip, though not exactly dull
With all those tons of liquid gas below us in the hull.

On Sunday we had middle watch, though we didn't care for that.
"This day is for the spirits," was what Juan to me said.
Well, Sunday strictly was no more, but I didn't disagree,
As a big flask Catalunya Spirit he then showed to me.

At our first drop it was one bell and we saw that as a sign,
So at two bells we took two more and all the ship was fine.
After three bells in this fashion that I shared with my dear friend
We didn't think or care about the way that this would end.

At four bells we did some singing, or at least I think we did.
Five, I can't say for sure, but I think we drank a bit.
Of six bells I know nothing, but seven I recall,
For then we found that in the flask there was nothing left at all.

But Juan said there'd been plenty and that I surely was to blame.
He raised the bottle in his hand and tried to take his aim.
The bottle, though, went a different way from where he had intended
As it swerved towards the console, where with a crash it landed.

Well, we sort of sobered up a bit when we saw that mess of glass
While some missed drops did seep into the circuitry, alas.
So when a short while afterwards the ship was acting queer
We'd cleaned up everything before the captain did appear.

So when he asked, "What is the matter? What is going on?"
I said "It is the boiler, sir, some thing down there is gone."
Yet Juan at the same time spoke, it was the engine that he named,
But soon we two agreed: 't was the computer that we blamed.

Well, because of "the computer," for a week we made no speed,
And drifting there towards a shore we could no longer heed,
We had to suffer how some tug boats towed our craft away
And worst of all, for such time lost we only got half pay.

So if on Catalunya Spirit a-sailing you should go,
If you should get the middle watch, there's something you should know.
To bring a bottle on the job is a foolish thing to do,
Because to make it through the night you will at least need two.

In the early morning of 11 February 2008, the LNG carrier Catalunya Spirit, on course from Trinidad and Tobago to Boston, lost propulsion off Cape Cod. As the ship received assistance from various support vessels, each subsequent news report would name a new cause for the engine failure. After a week, the vessel eventually continued under its own power. As this meant there would be no disaster, the media stopped covering the events, and we never heard what really happened. The song adds yet another possible cause.

I wrote the song for a Mudcat Song Challenge that we held about the events, in 2008. When it was to be included on the Mudcat CD set This Is Us in 2011, I took a closer look, and touched up the lyrics a bit. I also replaced the rather generic tune pattern I used for the song challenge with a better fitting tune. While the tune did improve the song, on the recording I'm clearly not yet comfortable with it. Through singing this to audiences rather than recording apparatus, I seem to have improved that to the point where people will suggest I sing it again.

last modified 18 November 2017; last updated 14 November 2015

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