Saturday, July 19, 2008

and there was this one time, at snorkel camp ....

As we have had quite a stressful few months, we looked forward quite a lot to this trip, yet at the same time, besides reading up on a review on we didn't do much preparation or have many expectations.

A typical day ran according to a schedule which was placed in your room during the evening turn down service the day before. While the activities were optional, unless feeling unwell, most people would participate in them. Since most of the day was spent swimming or snorkelling, after the first day, it felt a little like camp ... so Richard and I dubbed it snorkel camp :)

The cabins were quite roomy for ship standards. There was a small wardrobe and pantry/ minibar area with dressing table and lcd TV mounted on the wall. The LCD TV was merely turned off since there was no TV reception. There was a DVD player in the public bar area which you could put your own DVD in or borrow one (not sure how many titles they had) and then go back to your room and watch it. We only did this one quiet evening.

The bed was queen sized but had a strange lump in the middle. The bathroom was sort of a Formula1 motel moulded plastic type shower/ toilet combo. Fortunately there was also a vanity unit/ mirror to store your toiletries. The lovely crew would also make the floor mat fan shaped to pretty it up everyday. When we first arrived, they had also placed Singapore Orchids here and there for decoration.
I guess I'll do it as a two parter and run through a typical day in luxury snorkel camp. I will hopefully also finish off two separate posts on a village visit and a school visit.

There was the option of an early morning swim everyday with a wake up knock on your cabin door at 6 am. Although we thought about it a few times, that is as far as it got.

Breakfast was served in the dining room from 7:30- 9 am. Most days we made it there by about 8:30 am. I didn't get to take any photos at breakfast but everyday there was a hot buffet of bacon, sausages, baked beans, tinned spaghetti and pancakes or french toast. There was an egg station set up with eggs to order, including made to order omelettes with a choice of mushroom, ham, onion, capsicum or the lot. We had this twice and it was very well made and yummy. There was always a fruit platter, bread next to a conveyor-belt toaster ( I love those!), cereal and yogurt.

At 9:15, a tender boat would take us out to the morning island. Most days we would actually have sepearte spots in the morning and afternoon. We would then take a beach mat and beach towel which was provided and set up a nice spot for ourselves on the beach.
Whilst we were reading or swimming or walking or lazing around, the crew would be busy going back to the boat and retrieving trestle tables, table cloths, urns etc.

At 10:30 or thereabouts (remember we are running on Fijian time) there would be a holler of "moooorning tea!" Thereabouts we would look up and most of us would mosey over to see what the pastry of the moment is. (There was a dedicated pastry chef on board). It was amazing that every time it would be something different but there was always a fruit platter with the standard watermelon, pineapple and pawpaws. There was always a selection of teas and freeze dried coffee.

This would always be closely followed around 11 am with "snooooorkelling!" Whereby we would don our fins, mask and snorkels and either swim out like our own school of strange fish or the tender boats would drop us off to the reef spot. If we were far from shore, they would always circle us to make sure we were safe.
I have never been snorkelling before (unless you count using a shower cap and putting over my face and planting it into the bath tub when I was 6) yet I owned my own mask and snorkel, bought at a fair from a bargain bin (but it was so cheeeap!) Well! I sure am glad I had my own and brought it along! Snorkelling is truly amazing and we were fortunate to have a few guides point things out to us as we swam along, telling us which things we could touch and which to avoid. Before we knew it, we would be slowly swimming back to shore or signalled back onto the shore. There would then be a quick pack up of our things on the beach and the tender boats brought us back to the big boat for lunch.

Lunch was usually about 1 pm. There was different themes for the hot food section such as stir fry day, burger day, pasta day, BBQ day (which was on shore for something different) etc. And there was always the salad bar. The food was nothing that would make you go "wow" - with the exception of a very tasty bolognaise sauce on pasta day which had everyone getting seconds, even people putting it in bread "sloppy joe" style. Yet it was always freshly cooked, hearty and satisfying.
There was a coffee machine which produced pretty good coffee.
And ... to our surprise, there would be a fruit based type dessert with lunch. There was fruit cocktail the first day, these bananas rolled in cocoa and freshly grated coconut (simple yet divine) the second, chocolate mousse a third, trifle a fourth etc.
Next post ... the rest of the day ....

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At 7:43 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - I'm enjoying these posts...can't wait to read the next one!

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Hebrew_Star said...

Wow... that was really awesome! I loved reading it... and the others before too!!

Detailed, nice... its almost as good as being there!

So, did you ever discover what that lump in the bed was? A spring had sprung? hee hee

At 1:07 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Hehe thanks kirk... your holiday posts are also most enjoyable... really makes me want to visit Vietnam and Cambodia!

Hey E! *wave* I think the lump was from them squashing two slightly smaller single rubber matresses to make a queen one!


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