More luxurious not-much... with fish added

Trip Start Jun 13, 2014
Trip End Jun 21, 2014

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Flag of Fiji  , Viti Levu,
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The days just keep getting better here. This morning is wind-free and warm with a glassy sea and pool. Emma has already been out for a paddle board when we meet for breakfast with serenading. Of course...

David is making palm leaf hats for us and Seru confirms our snorkelling date. Josh scales a coconut tree to demonstrate his prowess at gathering coconuts for arriving guests and Sefa kits us out in flippers, masks and snorkels.

The tide is high and we are able to walk out on the beach before hitting the reef at waist deep. The water is initially cool - but not for long.

We spend the next hour following Sefa along the reef's edge, around the point, onto the next beach and then return. There is a myriad of small fish, averaging ~5cm long and the occasional 10-15cm parrot fish in the deeper crevices. The water is a little cloudy with the sand having been whipped up by the last couple of days of wind, but visibility is more than adequate.

The big blue starfish have emerged from their low-tide holes to spread open underwater. The coral is mostly browns but is punctuated by large pink or cream ones or a ruffled green and white variety. Every now an again, l spot a patch of vivid royal purple. With white spots on it's tips, it is easily the most beautiful coral we see and certainly better than what l remember of The Maldive's range. The fish are not as big, numerous or unafraid and turtles are absent, so Fiji is behind there! Today at least...

We clamber out of the water to be met by David with fresh coconuts for us both - the attention to personal service has been exemplary - and lay back by the pool to enjoy the drink before lunch.

A lazy afternoon is followed by the pulling up of our usual seats at the bar where Nathan swiftly delivers our favourite drinks. An invitation to join the management and sales staff for dinner maybe signals that we are part of the family now - we do already know each other after five days here and the low occupancy rate this week lends itself to congregating.

There is a small sales team of young guys, from mostly the southern states of the US. They are here for at least a year to sell land at an associated residential estate a little further down the road... and maybe housing packages beyond that. There are beachfront blocks of about half an acre each in a gated development that will retail for around US$600,000.

Cathy Reymond also joins as the resident wine and food critic. She has been working to build the cellar and chase suppliers. Jacques is in the kitchen tonight, trialling more new recipes. They have discovered my preference for non-seafood dishes and are mortified to have not known! I have been happy with the alternatives offered every night but tonight there is a soup of local rourou - a spinach-like vegetable - included for me!

Jacques joins us after dessert and a facinating discussion ensues about the logistics of food and wine supply here. Red wine, for instance, has to be kept in a chiller - not at room temperature - and nothing older than 2011. Temperature fluctuation is too problematic. Seafood and vegetables are not a problem, but every other variety of protein is causing a big headache. Jacques is unhappy with tonight's New Zealand beef but the chocolate chilli/mousse/sorbet dessert pleases him as both presentable, repeatable and suitable for various medical dietary requirements.

The Americans uncover that we are here as competition winners and are enthralled, having never heard of 25 words-or-less competitions, so l am rigorously grilled about my secrets. The senior sales guy is, on the other hand, thrilled to hear that l beat 12,000 people in a week, knowing that exposure for the brand has been good over the four weeks the competition ran in The Australian. Their aim is to market to New Zealand, Australia and China at this stage.

We offer to help in return for repeat trips...
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Kathy G on

Are you allowed to share your winning entry with us? Love to read...

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