This recurring theme of the vessel at rest, or silently gliding in calm seas at night, the lanterns casting their glow, and the crew and passengers in ironic discourse, is right up there with the scenes at taverns and quayside inns. The creak of the rigging; the ripples moving behind in moonlight-- the greatest thing is that Jack isn't content to rest with the atmosphere more than a moment before the spell is broken by some turn of events.
I love these scenes. I've been in a few such vessels. While I'm not much of a boater per se, several friends and brothers have substantial sailboats. Lacking giant worms, sail is the only real Vancean propulsion.
I've had similar scenes often in the mountains; the hiss of the kerosene lantern, the glow of the fire and the whisky....
So, anybody but axo know the story from which the opening quote comes?