Our first full day on board started with TBG getting a work call from someone in New Jersey. He didn’t let the guy know he’d woken him. I got up and did battle with the bathroom and came down to the dining room to get some coffee. They thankfully have a 24 hour coffee station on board. The coffee is very good and very fresh.
It was very quiet for a long time, but that didn’t last for long. Soon people were trickling out of their tiny cabins and into the day headlong.
The beds are, as reported, very comfortable and I spent way too much time on mine. It was good for reading and relaxing. Not so cool when I spilled some red wine on my pillowcase, but I got it washed out – I would like to point out that this was much later in the day, not at breakfast.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and we are given a handout that outlines the day ahead. This morning you could go dive with sharks or relax on board. TBG and I chose to dive with the sharks. The water is incredibly warm and clear. The spot they took us to was chockful of fish and we did see sharks. There was one about five feet long that checked us out pretty thoroughly. We swam for about an hour and then came back to the ship. It was time to do battle with the shower. I took all the towels out and had at time. The shower head is handheld and that kept a minimum of water other places. You can literally sit on the toilet and use the shower at the same time. This will be helpful the next time I shave my legs. :P The water pressure and temperature sort of varies as well. However, if this is the worse I have to face during the trip, it’s all good.
We found Jeff sitting at a table and enjoying the cool morning air and writing. I took the opportunity to give Sparky a call. With an eight hour time difference, not to mention it being a different day, it was hard to find a time, but I finally caught her. It was nice to have a chance to touch base with someone from LJ.
After the call, we went to morning tea, just to refresh ourselves, don’t you know? They served pizza and apple muffins. I went for the muffins and TBG reported that the pizza was great. The food is very good. I can’t fault them for that.
We headed back to the cabin and relaxed until it was lunchtime (how are we keeping up this dizzying pace?). Jeff is in the cabin across from us, so we knocked on his door and went down. There were salads and two kinds of wonderfully done fish. Dessert was a choice of red velvet cupcakes, ice cream or lemon tarts. I opted out, but again, TBG reported them quite yummy.
The early afternoon was spent catching up with Jeff and comparing notes. He liked the shark photos. I am going to try and download them, even though I have no Internet at the moment.
We got ready for our village visit. We had to wear sarongs, sulus they are called here, and there was a lesson in the various ways to tie them. Since paraus (Tahitian) and I are old friends, I didn’t need any help and we got the guys done up properly. I was worried about them negotiating the tender, but there were no incidents.
We came on shore and gathered in one spot, then moved out as a group (there were three tenders) to the village gathering hall. The chief was out fishing, so the kava ceremony wasn’t as elaborate as others we have been to. Then we were taken to the school – both TBG and Jeff were upset that this happened because they had brought things for the school. They were reassured that they could return the next day (Church) and bring them then. I will opt out of this, but they are both going back ashore tomorrow to attend. After that, we visited the church, the only building (other than one school room) in the village to withstand a cyclone last year.
After that, it was onto ‘the mall’ where a variety of items were being offered for sale. TBG bought another parau – seriously, we need another one of those like I need a hole in the head and we headed back to the shore where tea had been set up. We dined on tea sandwiches and fruit, although most people chose the cold water or juice over the tea. It was very hot, there was little shade and the men were not allowed to wear hats. I did feel sorry for the village dogs, but they weren’t skin and bones, nor were they aggressive, but nothing dropped was overlooked.
Back to the ship, there was just time for a short nap (TBG took three naps today AND went to bed at nine – he’s not used to this much sun). Then we first down to the bar to watch people choosing their Indian wear for Bollywood night. We opted out, but it was fun watching. Up at the Sky bar we were able to watch the sunset and had the drink of the day – it was green, but tasted like a chi chi. TBG had some Galliano over the rocks while Jeff and I tried out the drink. It was too sweet for Jeff’s taste, so he ordered what he decided was the worst martini of all times – all vermouth and little gin. Still, he maintained that he likes vermouth and drank it anyway. TBG finished his drink and then drank Jeff’s special.
The Bollywood dance off was great fun. I missed most of the women’s portion due to a potty break and caught just the end of it. However, TBG, not used to drinking, got up and danced with the rest of the men. It was great fun and he had so much fun. However, I suspect there will be aspirin in his future.
We headed downstairs and were delighted with the décor of the dining room – it had been transfixed into an Indian restaurant. The tables had been put together and there was a buffet of rice, four curries (vegetarian, lamb, beef and fish) along with nan, some potato chips looking things, and many accompaniments. The food was fabulous, but my favorite was the fish curry, which TBG preferred the beef and Jeff the vegetarian. Desserts were also Indian, but I opted out. I’m trying hard not to overeat on this cruise. Drinking is another matter.
After dinner, you have a choice of going to the second deck bar and watching a movie – Bollywood tonight – or going to the Sky bar for more alcohol, lounging, or heading back to your cabin for the in-room entertainment (they offer about 100 or so movies). We went back and read for a bit. It had been a full day and it didn’t take sleep long to find us.
Fiji – Day Nine
Had a bizarre NCIS dream this morning, I suspect Sparky’s comment about the season opener was behind that. Despite that, I slept well and woke to gentle rocking. It was quarter to five and so I got dressed and went out to seek coffee. Ended up in the dining room. The stairs are very steep and trying to maneuver a cup of coffee AND a laptop is tricky. Plus it put me that much closer to the coffee machine. That’s when I discovered that I’d found the ship’s hot spot. *Yay* However, the speed is next to snail mail, Better than nothing and at least I can check in with everyone on line.
We anchored near an island that was pretty much covered with a low scrub. It reminded me of the Altamont Pass in an odd way. It is a larger island, home to five villages. Each one is run by a clan chief who answers to the Chief. He had come back from his fishing trip, so the five couples who went to church got to meet him. The pastor, however, had been called away and the head of the school conducted the ceremony. Like the ship, villagers seem to wear many hats.
During breakfast, we started talking with a person who was training the food and beverage person in the preparation of vegan and gluten-free dishes. It was fun to chat and learn about the various challenges that the chef faces each meal. The galley is super tiny, which is why so many of the meals on board are served buffet style. I thought my kitchen was small – he has less space and has to feed up to 100+ people five times a day.
After breakfast, the guys headed in for a church service and I stayed on board and worked on my latest square. Finished the applique on seven and am working on eight. Just one more after this. Of course, the quilting will have to wait until after we get home, but that takes no time at all.
We had tea when they returned and then TBG and I headed back to the cabin to hear about each other’s adventures.
We moved to our next spot, Natava (I think is the right spelling). Turtle Bay was right around the corner from where we anchored. This is a resort whose room start at $1,000 a night. Those room must be pretty special. Anyhow, we had a couple of hours after lunch to relax and then it was time to head ashore. The crew had worked to bring umbrellas, chairs and beach mats over for us, so there was plenty of places to rest and put out stuff down.
We got in the water and paddled around, then the captain (his name is Chi) announced he was leading a snorkeling trip. We tried to get Jeff to come, but he was still feeling insecure with his equipment. We left him on the beach with most of everyone else and headed out.
We ended up over some protected reefs and the fishes were spectacular. It was a bit murky because the tide was coming in, but it was still fabulous. We snorkeled our way partially back to the ship until the Captain decided that he (and us, too) had had enough and were ready to go back in. You don’t argue with the captain.
Getting back, we discovered that tea had been served and that we had missed the cooking demonstration. They had made their version of ceviche and it was very good. There was also cake and small sandwiches.
Jeff told us that he’d watched the demonstration, walked along the beach and had swum a little. Mostly he sat in the shade of the umbrella and read. We snorkeled a bit more off the beach, but there wasn’t much, just mostly broken coral and some small fish. I did see a fairly large trigger fish, but just the one.
Back to the ship and a bit of a clean up and rest before heading up to the Sky Bar for drinks and to watch the Six South Island contestants strut their stuff. It was silly fun and Tish ended up winning a bottle of wine. The others got to choose their runner-up gifts.
There was another buffet for dinner – Polynesian, this time. It was, again, yummy. White rice, vegetable steamed in coconut milk (what a way to get kids to eat their veggies!), a whole baked fish, sweet chili chicken and kalua pig, although they called it something else. There were also salads and, of course, too many tempting desserts.
After dinner, we sat on the deck and watched the stars. Jeff looked a little sad and as I had a hand free (TBG was holding the other), I asked him if he’d like a hand to hold. He did and we sat there for a long time just counting stars and our blessings. What a nice way to end the day!