Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Raiatea - Friday 19 October

My birthday! Happy birthday to me. The crew knew it was my birthday & when we out our cabin door there was a happy birthday sign stuck to the door as well as some balloons. What was a wonderful coincidence is that the ship had decided to put on a gourmet breakfast room service for that day. Every other breakfast we had gone up to the grill & had an omlette but when given the chance of having champagne, fresh fruit, croissants & a cooked portion of breakfast in bed for you birthday, well it would have been silly to pass up that offer. We were quite surprised when our breakfast arrived to find out that we would have to make room for 3 full sized trays of food. It was a huge breakfast, so big that we left the criossants & pastries to have as morning tea. There was champagne & coffee, fresh melon, strawberries & pineapple & blueberries served inside a rock melon. Then a cold main of smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese & a bun. The hot main was a crab quiche, a stuffed tomato & roasted potatoes. The pastries were croissants, muffins & danishes. What a way to start a day!

It took about 18 hours of cruising to get to Raiatea. This island is in the Society Islands & like a lot of islands in this group it is an island protected by a reef with a lagoon inside the reef & then the actual island.

As we were coming in to port the ships master sculpter showed us how he carved the beautiful ice sculptures that had been gracing the buffet daily. We sat out on the poolside & watched the sculpter take a 150lb block of ice & transform it in to 2 angel fish, within 30 minutes. He was Filipino & fruit & ice sculpturing are highly prized accomplishments in the Phillipines. He was the only food sculptor on board.

We had a busy day lined up for once we were ashore. Only a couple of days earlier we found out that the sunset cruise that we were waitlisted for was available for us. Because we were waitlisted when we booked the outings we decided we would do a all afternoon black pearl farm tour followed by snorkelling. That tour was due back at 4pm & the sunset cruise was due to leave at 5pm, so theoretically there should have been no problems.

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