NOAA History Banner
gold bar divider
home - takes you to index page
about the site
noaa - takes you to the noaa home page
search this site
white divider
arrow Art and Poetry
arrow Coast Surveyor Poetry

banner - the usc&gss hydrographer

By Captain Leonard S. Hubbard*,
Commanding Officer, USC&GSS HYDROGRAPHER

The radio news from Tampa
Announces fair and sunny weather,
Gentle breezes and passing showers.

But here in the Gulf of Mexico
Our vessel is plodding its lonely way
In a frothy fluid of windy sea.

The wind, it blows and blows,
The spray: hisses, hisses and hisses
And the sea: splashes, splashes and splashes.

The ship, it rocks and rocks,
And she pounds, pounds and pounds,
As her engines throb, throb and throb.

On the bridge, it’s deep sea charting,
Electronic fix and fathometer sounding,
“One to go.” – “Standbye.” – and “Mark.”

Electronic fix, electronic fix and electronic fix,
Hydrography, hydrography and hydrography,
Line and line after line and line.

Now when does this ship end sounding?
The waters swish and whisper at her side,
“Hydrography, hydrography, more hydrography.”

In: “The Buzzard”, June 22, 1954

The lead-in to this poem as published in the June 22, 1954, “The Buzzard” was:

“We have just discovered that there is an “Edgar Allen Poe” in Coastal Services Division. Captain Leonard S. Hubbard, skipper of the Ship HYDROGRAPHER conducting EPI-controlled hydrography in the Gulf of Mexico has given us some thoughts about the HYDROGRAPHER, which he has classified as “primitive verse” in these modern times. We think it is very apropos, and present it to you:”

This short poem captures the essence of the rhythm and the unending nature of the task of all hydrographers even in the present day, 50 years after the writing of this poem.


Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer