That night we ran the generator and the ice machine. After shutting it off, we had cocktails, and watched a movie in the cockpit beneath a night sky of black velvet. The stars so bright you could almost hear them.
I bought $200 worth of duty free booze back in Port Vila. The customs officer came out to the boat and packed up the hootch. Then he put his royal stickers all over it. We can't open the box until we depart Vanuatu waters. There's the rub. I stare longingly at the box, knowing that, inside, the Southern Comfort 100 proof needs me too.
Port Vila is a city worth leaving. It's overwhelmingly ex-pat and full of the same old people I keep running into. The Au Bon Marche grocery store is rather amazing though. Where ever the French have ruled, they leave their 2 hour lunch breaks and excellent selection of cheese and meats behind. I don't pick on the French or power boaters any more. I like them both. And the open air market will blow your mind. The vendors come from all over Efate and even other islands. They set up on a Monday morning and stay 24 hours a day until it all sells or Sunday rolls around, whichever comes first. You can wake them up at midnight and buy a pamplemousse. They'll be sleeping on a mat next to their taro and husked coconuts. Fascinating how different lives can be.
I recruited a couple of Scandinavians and we went off in search of kava. I'd been told throughout my whole time in Fiji that the Vanuatu kava is a crippler. And it was. 3 bowls later the stupor was around my neck like an ascot. I felt flush and nearly nauseous. It was nothing over powering, or physically debilitating, but definitely stronger than the Fiji waka. A strong serenity was forced upon me. I'm aware those are contradictory terms. I would imagine, that taken to it's logical extreme, kava would end in a peaceful coma, or maybe a Parkinson's disease freeze out, in which you are imprisoned in your own body. . . but in a good way. I better try it again. I'll let you know. 2 things that were absolutely better and worse than drinking kava in Fiji: 1.) Better - You get your own bowl. 2.) Worse - the savages hawk and spit everywhere.
We're sailing comfortably in 1 foot swells making 4 knots in 9 knots of wind speed. Sure, we're 30 degrees off course but I can keep the sails full and our VMG is only a knot off of our SOG. We'll gibe at midnight. This is heaven. I guess we can still get lucky on passages. It's been 7 hours of these conditions, so I have every hope it will continue for the next 15 until we get there. We're headed to Ambrym in the northern islands. It's a double headed volcano. I'll bet it'll be something worth writing about.
Your man on point,