Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A blue lagoon afternoon

The boat usually cruises while we lunch to another island or another beach on an island. At about 2:15 the afternoon shore excursions start. Most days it was to a beach where once again, we would park ourselves somewhere.

The crew would set up the afternoon tea table but if you notice to the right of it, another table is also set up... yes! It is a massage table for those who would like a beach massage under the coconut trees. It cost FJ $30 for 20 minutes but neither of us got round to getting one. We were too busy trying to fit in snorkelling which can actually be quite addictive!

A word of warning about coconut trees to those who haven't had much experience with them... coconuts can actually fall quite suddenly without warning. Hence it is always wise to see where you are parking your mat. Richard was quite shocked to find after coming back with a scone for afternoon tea one day, a coconut about a foot from his mat when there wasn't one 3 minutes before! I am sure if Newton had been lying under a coconut tree he wouldn't have discovered gravity.

For something different, one afternoon we had a sulu (local word for sarong) tying demonstration. I learnt about six different ways to tie it other than just as a long skirt! They also demonstrated how the guys wear it, tucked in closer to the front rather than the side.
Yet another day, on one of the islands with a hill, Henry the cruise director organised a hill climb (aka hike aka bushwalk). The view was quite magnificent.
This was a pic of a village house on one of the islands we swam at. We were told not to approach any of the villages as it was a big cultural no-no unless we had been welcomed through the official Yaqona ceremony. At most of the beaches though some of the village women would set up a little shell markets selling mostly sulus, laquered shells or necklaces and bracelets made from shells and seeds.
Outside pic of what was our home for 7 days. There was usually an afternoon snorkel session followed by some afternoon tea at 3:30 pm. At 5 pm, the tender boats would start to take us back to the boat where there would be a large drop in water pressure as most people would freshen up for the evening.

Somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30 pm, some of the crew memebers would start playing music up in the bar/ lounge deck. There would usually be a tray or two of canapes and most of the passengers would wander in after they had freshened up. There would be chatting and laughter accompanied by a cocktail or drink. It was on the first night that we learnt there was a couple right from our town on the boat as well! What a small world! Although we had never met them before, the guy who owns a printing business actually printed for both the companies we work for.

The crew members would also come around and encourage us to do the island shuffle. This is a pic of Richard with Serevina one of the lovely girls who always helped with the morning and afternoon teas. The island shuffle consisted mostly of just stepping a few steps forward and back, holding each others hands behind the back. It was quite fun and there was no pressure for fancy steps.

Some of the nights had themes such as indian night, fancy hat night and fancy dress night. Not everyone participated but we did get into the spirit of things and it made for a few laughs. (Pics in a future post ... maybe ....)

At about 8 pm (kids ate earlier) we would all troop down for dinner. Most nights it was served buffet style but the first and third night was a sit down four course dinner with a choice of entree, soup, main and dessert. A lot of the meals were quite standard western fare. I was quite self conscious of snapping pics so these were the only two I snuck in.

My first entree at the captains dinner. Prawns in coconut broth with island fronds. The fronds were nice and tasted alot like seaweed. The coconut broth was served cool and was very mild in flavour. My chicken main at the dinner on the third night. Crumbed chicken stuffed with local spinach. Filling and tasty but nothing to write home about. Was sitting next to one of the girls from California who has finished her SATs and is going to UCLA in Fall. She said " I can't believe you just took a picture of your food." I tried to explain blogging to her but she didn't quite get it. Sadly, she also told us who won the Amazing Race by accident *sigh* Teenagers nowadays! If we ever have kids I hope they metamorph right into adults bypassing the teen stage.
Every night after dinner which would conclude at about 9 pm, most people would just head back to their cabins. There was a quiz night one night and a disco night another but I think most people weren't night owls. Our fellow passengers were lovely and we made quite firm friends with a few of them. There were roughly 10 from NZ, 14 from Aus, 11 from the US, 2 from Norway and 2 from Italy. The largest contingent was from Fiji with 22 crew members. I can't believe that they do the same cruise 50 weeks of the year, yet they are so friendly and enthusiastic, you feel like you are just joining them for the first time! They cruise the 6 nights and have one night at home with their families and do 6 weeks on and one week off. That is a pretty hard life! Yet they are always laughing and giggling either with us or amongst themselves. Hopefully the sunny island attitude will stay with me the remainder of these cold winter months.

Labels: , ,


At 3:11 PM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hey Rachel - Sounds like you had a pretty festive time!

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

yes kirk ... really wish I was back there especially with the freezing cold weather we have been having here! I can't believe it actually snows in Australia!


Post a Comment

<< Home