I LIKE standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face
and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe,
the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her
through the sea.

I LIKE the sounds of the navy the piercing trill of the boatswains call
the syncopated clang of the ships bell the harsh squawk of the main
broadcast and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work

I LIKE navy vessels, nervous darting destroyers, plodding fleet
auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers.

I LIKE the proud names of navy ships Australia, Melbourne, Sydney

I LIKE the lean angular names of navy destroyers Anzac, Vampire,
Vendetta, Voyager.

I LIKE the tempo of a navy band blaring through the upper deck
speakers as we pull away from the tanker after refueling at sea.

I LIKE the pipe "libertymen fall in" and the spicy scent of a foreign port.

I LIKE sailors, men from all parts of the land, from city and country alike
and all walks of life, I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend
on me for professional competence, comradeship and courage in a
word they are shipmates.

I LIKE the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed
"special sea dutymen close up".

I LIKE the infectious thrill of sighting home again the waving hands of
welcome from family and friends the work is hard and dangerous, the
going rough at times the parting from loved ones painful but the
companionship of robust navy laughter the all for one and one for all
philosophy of the sea is ever present.

I LIKE the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ships work, the beer
 issue, watching flying fish flit across the wave tops as sunset gives way to

I LIKE the feel of the navy in darkness the masthead lights the red and
green navigation lights and the stern light the pulsating phosphorescence of
radar screens.

I LIKE drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small
that tell me that my ship is alive and well and that my shipmates on
watch will keep me safe.

I LIKE quiet middle watches with the aroma of kai on a winters night.

I LIKE hectic watches when the exacting minuet of hazy grey shapes
racing at full speed keeps all hands on a razor edge of alertness.

I LIKE the sudden electricity of "action stations" followed by the hurried
clamour of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight
doors and hatches as the ship transforms herself from the peaceful workplace
to a weapon of war ready for anything.

I LIKE the sight of space age equipment manned by youngsters clad in
No8's and sound powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognise.

I LIKE the traditions of the navy and the men who made them and the heroism
of the men who sailed in the ships of yesteryear.

An adolescent can find adulthood, in years to come when sailors are home
from the sea they will still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in
all its moods, the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm tossed
green water surging over the bow and then there will come again a faint whiff
of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright
bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm and a refrain of hearty laughter.

Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their navy days, when the
seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon,
remembering this they will stand taller and say.