The New Pilot

A couple of days a week
Bluey and Curly would swap
Curly's learning to pilot
His Captain the tutor

Trees floating underwater
Currents and eddys
All making life hard
For the new pilot

Much to Bluey's amusement
The Belle went sideways
Down the river
The Captain got a bit excited

Docking in Swan Hill
With hot northerly winds
Blowing the boat around
Gave Curly a workout

Shirtless, gleaming with sweat
A determined look in his eye
Spinning the wheel right then left
He docked the Belle perfectly

You bloody ripper he called
A smile as wide as the river
Covered his ruggedly handsome face
Good boy the Captain said as he passed

The Captain checked in
While the boys tied her up
We'll unload in the morning
Our load should be in by then

Bluey and Curly breasted the bar
At the Royal George
The first beer didn't touch the sides
The second at a more leisure rate

A long night at the pub
Took it's toll next morning
They were half unloaded
Before the first rooster saluted the sun

It was a day and a half
Back to Echuca
Bluey called the Captain Noah
As the return load was stowed

50 roosters and chooks
20 ducks and geese
Four sheep two calves
And a bloody goat

Curly won the job
To feed the buggers
Squawking and cackling
Bit of hay for the animals

That night Curly fed the chooks
Returning with four eggs
one each and the Captain got two
For breakfast in the morning

Curly took the wheel
I'm getting so good at this
He thought rounding a bend
Heading for home

He passed the Sunraysia Son
About 10 miles out
They had a load of hay
Heading to Mildura

The river smooth as glass
Big gum trees waving from the banks
The sun high in the sky
Ah, this is the life

Two miles from home
Curly was taking it easy
One hand on the wheel
When all hell broke loose

They'd lost the rudder
Headed towards the bank
Curly frantically turned the wheel
One way then the other

The Captain took over
Shut down the engines
Then put them in reverse
Out of danger for the moment

Curly's jaw dropped
The captain had the Belle
Heading straight up the river
Big smile on his face

Using both wheels
He steered her well
Another lesson for Curly
In his Pilot education

The Captain was relieved to see
The Echuca dock clear of traffic
Only a nudge and a scrape
The Belle was docked

Bluey and Curly helped Ian Bayles
With his animals and chooks
Then it was time to clean
Two days of droppings

That night at the pub
The story grew with each beer
Curly had the floor
Retelling the story time and again