The Captain - Sola, Vanua Lava
On our last full day on the island of Vanua Lava, Jimmy and I hopped into the 20-foot open boat that had been chartered to pick up some friends from the other side of the island. The man who operated the boat was known to all simply as the Captain. I never heard him referred to by any other name.
His father is fond of telling the following story: When the Captain was born, his right fist was clenched tightly shut. His apu (grandfather), on seeing this, intructed those present to open it carefully. The infant's hand contained a small amount of water. "Taste it," said the apu. It was as salty as the ocean.
There are times when it makes sense to go along with folk wisdom, and believe me, when I saw the skill with which the Captain angled us through the 2 1/2 metre swell, I knew that, no matter what its provenance, this man has salt water in his veins.