Initial thoughts were I’d be trying to find things to do to entertain myself, but with all the activities included, it turned out to be more like trying to find the time to fit in as much as possible.
Every day we had snorkelling & beach time, a tender would take us from the cruise ship to the beach so we could make a base and relax in the sun, and for the more adventurous, big jim (the tender captain) took us to the best snorkelling spots in the area. It was great the coral was so colourful and I managed to see a blue spotted stingray. Big Jim was great because if you couldn’t handle the swim back to the beach or if you were just lazy you could raise your arm and he would come and pick you up. When I realised how far the snorkelling spots were from the beach, I thought I‘d be fully utilising big jims pick up service but there was so much to look at whilst snorkelling I didn’t realise how far I’d swam. And yes I did find Nemo!
When we weren’t snorkelling or beachcombing we were very privileged and invited to Island villages:
Visiting a local school on the Island of Waya, after the kids put on a performance of traditional Fijian dance and song for us, some of the children showed me around the library and classrooms. A few of the girls were showing me their school work and happened to let me know that they all loved Justin Beiber, they had all the verses to his song; baby baby baby written very neatly in their exercise books. Once I saw this, they were so excited and giggly so decided to crowd round me and start singing, I didn’t know what else to do but join in, which kinda ruined it a little, but oh well.
Visiting a local village, we were invited to a local church service, although the service was given in one of the 100 Fijian dialects the singing of the hymns was like noting I’ve ever heard before, the choir was amazing.
On our last night we were invited to a meke (performance given to visitors and V.I.P’s like myself! with stories all told through song and dance) and a Lovo, (a traditional Fijian meal cooked underground) it was like a banquet; fish, chicken, pork, taro leaves which tasted like spinach and lots of root vegetables including sweet potato and taro root (a bit like tapioca). When we first arrived on the island, before any interaction with the villagers we had to complete a formal cava ceremony — the ships crew were very helpful in letting us know what we had to do. The chief of the village formally invited our elected chief (Captain of Reef Endeavour) to the island and the offering of cava (bashed up cava root mixed with water) it doesn’t have much taste, but looks like muddy water. It’s not alcoholic, but some say it’s narcotic?!? After the chiefs had officially finished the ceremony we all had the chance to taste the kava. Official protocol states you have to clap once before you receive it, (in half a coconut shell) down it in one and then clap 3 times when finished. Some say that when it’s a strong enough mix it can make your tongue and lips numb!!