Getting stoned.

Thu 12 Nov 2015 05:38
15:58.609S 167:22.444E

First peep of the sun.

Morning saw us slipping away. It’s late in the season. Cyclones could come any time. We need to get far enough North to be out of the area they develop in, as quickly as is reasonable. We had another delivery stop to do, Wala Island, before heading up to Sola to finally check out, so it would be just a day sail. The swell was low, the wind light but there was enough to keep us moving with all sails full. 

A sailing canoe accompanies us through the pass.

The fishing lines were cast in a hopeful manner but I think we were going too slowly so the lures weren’t dancing and sparkling enough to temp any bites. It was a chilled and peaceful day following the coastline up. A tropic bird came to keep us company a while and tiny flying fish entertained us with their attempts at flight. We simply watched the view slide by, read a little, slipped back into easy passage mode.

Tropic Bird in the sunshine. I love the landing gear.

Lookin’ at you lookin’ at me.

We arrived at Wala mid afternoon, with not a bite on the line. Canoes came out to greet us and were disappointed that we’d caught no fish. They told us that Chief Kami was on the mainland attending a funeral so there was plenty of time for a swim and a rest before going ashore. Kami had prepared some kava, to thank us for getting him his things from Vila, and invited us into the nakamal along with his son, three of his grandchildren and his second in command. The kava was good. Vanuatu kava is the real thing. You may think you know kava, having had some in Fiji, but, with apologies to Fijians, I have to say, their kava is like dishwater in comparison. You can drink three, four, five shells of Fijian kava and feel a little mellow. Have one shell of Vanuatu kava and the world’s a better place; your companions are wonderful company, soothing and easy to be with, the evening light is beautiful and the sea starts to sparkle. Have two and your tongue tingles a little, your lips are just a tad numb and it’s a little hard to say the wonderful, insightful and fascinating things you know your companions are eager to hear. They say wonderful things too, I can’t quite remember them now, but they were truth. We, wisely perhaps, refused a third shell and hence had no embarrassing incidents making our way back to the boat in the kayak, but instead paddled with grace and climbed aboard with aplomb. At least it felt that way to me.

Kami and family in the nakamal.

We slept the sleep of the chilled: dropping off straight away, staying asleep yet being aware of vivid peaceful dreams meandering their way through the night. And on waking we had no hang over, slightly unsettled stomachs maybe, but otherwise just fine, and still a little mellow. We headed ashore to pass on a few more items people needed: marine epoxy to repair canoes with, a spokeshave for smoothing house poles (why on earth did we have a spokeshave on board?? We’ve never needed it in 3 1/2 years. Though, having given it away, we will need it next week of course) and to see George and his wife, he’d told us she would be making us lap lap with chicken. We’d explained we had to leave in the morning but he insisted that she’d be able cook it and give it to us before we left. As it turned out she hadn’t had time to prepare lap lap but she had kindly had boiled yams and chicken which we were served for breakfast at 8 am. We’d thought we’d be given something to take with us and regretted the weetbix, fruit and yoghurt we’d already had. Yam and chicken is lovely, but a little hard to stomach so early in the day. Poor Phil had a rather hard job of it as he’d just given his head an enormous whack on a roof pole sticking out from the eaves of a house we’d been walking past. He had a hat on and was bending down a little to help the 3 yr old who was holding his hand: walked right into it. So he sat, slightly concussed, with blood pouring down his face, trying to eat yam and chicken.

It was a good job we were mellow. We got back on board, got mizzen and mainsail up, and tried to lift the anchor. No go. The relay for the windlass had failed.