Monday, June 30, 2008

Castaway Island Holiday!

Well, it was a great week. We came, we lazed, we lounged and we ate and drank. None of us wore shoes whilst we were there and "evening wear" was shorts and t-shirts and swimmers.

The weather was great, sunny in the mornings, very hot by midday and then cooling down through the afternoon so that come by dinner time, it was very comfortable to eat outside.

Castaway Island was brilliant in the sense that there were only 60 odd bures but about 130 staff on the island at any one time. There are 160 employees in all, but they have a 12 days on, 3 days off rotation. This meant that there were no hassles, always someone within "bula!" distance to talk to and the whole vibe of the place was peaceful.

Speaking of the staff, they were excellent - always relaxed, happy to chat, enthused that you were having a good time and all in all, I think the most hospitable people we have met.

Food was excellent... we took on the meal plan which meant we only had to pay extra for alcohol and drinks for the kids outside of fruit juice. The breakfasts, lunches and the dinners were therefore simply walk in, find a table, order or go to the buffet and then sign off that you were there and your drinks and go... it was very well organised, and the food itself was fantastically presented and tasted great - particularly the seafood.

For the girls, they had a great time and because it was a family orientated resort, the girls developed good friendships with the other resort kids and for a change the bulk of the kids were 6-12yr old girls rather than the usual 13-14yr old boys reeking havoc that we have struck of late. On top of that, the island staff ran a Kids Club which meant that there were plenty of scheduled activities during the days and at night all the kids were kept busy whilst adults could have dinner to themselves between 6:30 and 9:00pm.

So while we dined in the restaurant, the kids went to bonfires, played games, learnt Fijian dances etc.

And plenty of activities for everyone too... we had free use of snorkel gear, kayaks and catamarans. We also got a free tour of the reef via a glass bottom boat - which Brookie loved - on the Thursday Kate and I went Parasailing. Kate went tandem with one of her island friends, so it was great that she did this without me. It was a big deal for her.

The bure's were great. They were airy and air conditioned and right on the water.

I am rambling a bit... can't say enough of the place and we'll definitely be going back.

Our welcome to the island... this was taken as our launch hit the beach. No wharf on Castaway, you literally hit the sand!

Our island bure... from the front.

The view from the bure's verandah. Spectacular!

Yours truly working hard! ;)

Brooke and Kate in the water out the front of our bure...

Sunset off the balcony of the islands restaurant...

Kate and Brooke (who at this stage had their hair braided) at the Kids Klub with one of the staff Alesi.

The girls got to perform at the "Lovo Night" which was the night of Fijian dancing and food... The staff put on a cocktail party complete with Kava for the adults and then the kids who had rehearsed all day were part of the show of traditional dancing and singing.

Here we are on that same day watching Kime prepare the "lovo" which is an underground earthen pit of hot rocks and banana leaves where the food is cooked all day. There was enough food here to feed the entire island!

Kate coming into land during her parasail... she is the front set of legs!

Me being kitted up to go parasailing. The very technical instructions were "sit down and dont pull the ropes until you come into land".

This shot is special because it was taken on the launch back to the cruise ship to take us home. Aseri here was the leader of the Kids Klub and she was on board to take the tickets and first Brooke and then Kate started to cry because they were going home. Soon Aseri was crying as well and you know the kids have had a good time when they burst into emotion as you pull away....

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