Saga of the Cavalla
Jeff Morris June 1999
Tune of Strawberry Roan

I was hanging around Dallas, just spending my time,

Riding the vents and not earning a dime.

When a fellow steps up and he said I can tell -

Youíre an old Pig Boat rider by the likes of that smell.

Well you figures me right, and I've rode quite a few.

Boats from EB and Portsmouth, and Manitowoc too.

From the barrier up north, to the blue Caribbean

There's hardly a Pig Boat that I haven't seen.

 

I've made Med runs and West Pac's - been through the canal,

Been to Subic, and Naples, and old Montreal.

I've filled all the billets from messcook to COB

I can stand any watch I can do any job.

Then I asked if he knew of a boat I could ride.

One that was steeped in historical pride.

He said that he knew one, a hero of war.

She is now a museum, donít operate no more.

 

She's been mistreated, neglected, and is close to her grave.

Down in Galveston harbor, Cavalla is her name.

Then I gets all excited, cause I knew of her lore.

Of the brave submariners that rode her to war.

He said get your gear and I'll take you down there.

She needs some boat riders who'll work and who care.

So we drove down to see her and what we could do.

When I gazed on Cavalla, my heart broke in two.

 

Down at Seawolf Park out on Pelican Isle.

Is a crusty old fleetboat, of GUPPY II style.

Instead of a teak deck there's a layer of cement.

Superstructure is rusted, and her bowplanes are bent.

Several clamshells are missing, there are holes everywhere.

To an old submariner, it's so hard to bear

Her ribbons are fading, the paint's wearing thin,

The story so far has been pretty grim.

 

We went down below to see more of the same.

The condition of this boat is really a shame.

The pump room is flooded, and the battery well.

The decks and the bulkheads have all gone to hell.

You look for some bright work to polish and shine.

But the copper and brass pipes are painted you find.

The 244 boat seems dingy and dim.

It's hard to imagine her in full fighting trim.

 

I've been a plank owner on boats that are new.

And rode boats that a yard trip is past overdue.

Seen them damaged from collisions and contact with ice.

And from fires and flooding, those scenes are not nice.

But Cavalla's condition's the worst I have seen.

Of all of those hundreds of fine submarines.

And I'll bet all my money not a Subvetís alive,

That can look at Cavalla, and keep a dry eye.

 

Now that you know of Cavalla's sad plight.

I'm asking boat riders join in the fight.

There's a lot to be done, but it's a worthwhile cause.

We can save this fine lady from the grim reaper's jaws.

So step up and be a brave volunteer again.

It will make you more proud of that twin dolphin pin.