The Blue Wave (Lehr and Best)

Come all ye men that work on land,
for little do you know
What we poor fishermen endure
when the stormy winds do blow;
It was February in 'fifty-nine,
a date I remember well,
When some brave lads were called
away out in that heavy gale.

We sailed away from Burgeo,
it was on a Sunday morn,
The temperature reading zero
as we ran before a storm.
Bill Vardy was our skipper's name,
The Triton was our boat;
Our crew was all from Newfoundland,
there's no better bunch afloat.

We fished around those Grand Banks
five or six days or more,
When a heavy storm it did arise
as we headed for the shore.
It wasn't very long afterwards
the news we all did know,
A sea struck the Cape Dolphin
and she was sinking low.

'Fore ten on Monday morning
we received a distress shout,
Coming from the Blue Wave
saying that she was hove out;
We tried to run back to her
but nothing would she stand.
We brought her to the wind again
and we shaped her for the land.

Our captain then gave orders
the ice for to beat off.
We beat a load down on her deck,
and we beat it from aloft.
We kept beating away the ice,
our hearts were filled with fear;
Our captain then gave orders again
our lifeboats to keep clear.

Then aeroplanes were soon despatched
to search the ocean 'round,
But no sign of their missing boat
was anywhere to be found.
A gale of wind was blowing then,
while the seas rose mountains high;
The search it was abandoned,
and the planes did homeward fly.

To you people of Grand Bank and Fortune
I send my deepest sympathy;
Put your trust in God above
while toiling on the sea.
Don't fret nor mourn for those brave lads
that have been called away;
I know you'll meet in heaven above
upon that judgement day.

Now to conclude and finish,
I think I have done well.
My name and my birthplace
I'm going for to tell;
Grey River is my native home,
Jack Lushman is my name
And I sailed with Captain Vardy
from Burgeo, Newfoundland.

####.... John S (Jack) Lushman, Sr [1940-?] of Ramea, NL ....####
Collected in 1977 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from the composer, John S (Jack) Lushman, Sr [1940-?] of Ramea, NL, and published as #9 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.17-18, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that the Blue Wave with a crew from Grand Bank and Fortune, NL, was struck in February 1959, by a heavy storm and left to the mercy of the waves. The Triton from Burgeo was sent to her aid, but under such severe and hazardous conditions there was nothing the crew could do. Lehr further noted that the Cape Dolphin mentioned in the song was also in distress, but her crew was rescued and brought safe to land.

See more Lehr and Best songs.

The Northern Shipwrecks Database recorded the date as February 9, 1959, and reported both the Blue Wave and the Cape Dauphin [sic] were lost.

Note: Seven years later to the month, on February 17, 1966, the Blue Mist II, sister ship of the Blue Wave, went down with 13 men under similar circumstances with the combined weight of a full cargo of fish and heavy ice caked by freezing spray. Both vessels fished out of Grand Bank, NL, and were owned by Bonavista Cold Storage Ltd.

See more NL shipwreck songs.


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