Vacation Pictures, part one

No TWD today. I made the dough for the cookies before I left for vacation, but haven’t had the  time to bake them. I’m not going to have time to make anything until this weekend. In the meantime, I’ll share a few vacation pictures today and over the next few days.

21-Nov, Saturday Denarau Island, Fiji

We landed at the airport, checked into the hotel, had breakfast…I went to the activities desk and asked about dives. There was a dive leaving in 20 minutes. I rushed to my room, changed into my bathing suit, and rushed back to the dock. Within 3 hours of landing in Fiji, I was on a dive boat heading out for my first two dives of the trip. This picture was taken with the dive master when we were heading back to the dock. It was a great start for my vacation.

22-Nov, Sunday Denarau Island, Fiji

The shuttles to take us to the cruise ship were picking us up at 2 pm on Sunday, so I pretty much just relaxed and read on the beach all day. This was the view.

23-Nov, Monday Lautoka, Fiji

Spent the day diving. This was my first shipwreck dive. 🙂

With my good friend and dive instructor on the ship, Dominique.

Looking at the fishies.

On Beachcomber Island, where we went for our surface interval between dives.

The coral was breathtakingly beautiful in Fiji.

Coming up in Vacation Pictures, part two:

  • Suva, Fiji: Shark dive! Dove to 96 feet, my deepest ever.
  • Savusavu, Fiji: Jean-Michel Cousteau! More dives!
  • Vava’u, Tonga: My favorite dives of the trip, more Jean-Michel Cousteau

Rice Gelato

Last year, while on Taha’a, I bought a bunch of Tahitian vanilla beans. I used my last Tahitian bean to make the Rice Gelato from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. Today, I’m back on Taha’a (80% of Tahitian vanilla beans grow on this island) and stocking up on vanilla beans. I think I will buy twice as much as I bought last year because this will be my last trip to the region for quite awhile (if ever again).

This recipe was definitely worth using my last bean. In addition to vanilla, the gelato is flavored with orange zest and tastes like frozen rice pudding. You can find the recipe HERE.

{twd} a tart

Ia Orana! Today I’m sailing the South Pacific on the way to Bora Bora.

I made a tart, just not the tart for today. The December Tuesdays with Dorie recipes weren’t posted in time before my trip, so I chose to make the La Palette Strawberry Tart. This tart was selected prior to me joining the group by Marie of A Year in Oak Cottage. I made the tart with kiwis because that is what I had on hand. I made one mini-tart and used pastry cream instead of jam. I peeled and sliced the kiwis, added a bit of sugar, a bit of limoncello, and a bit of black pepper. Delicious!

{sms} waffles! brunch!

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I had to make waffles for this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe, so I invited the family over for brunch. The waffles were pretty good (not anywhere near as good as the waffles I had from Bouchon) and the brown sugar bananas were delicious (although my brother said they were too banana-y; how can bananas be too banana-y?)

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Waffles from Bouchon

Thank you to Lauren of Fried Pickles and Ice Cream for selecting Raised Waffles with Warm Brown Sugar Bananas for this week. If you would like the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book.

(For those who are interested: Today I am in Lautoka, Fiji.)

Today doesn’t exist for me

Because of travel and crossing the International Date Line…Boarded plane in LAX on November 19th and 10 hours later landed in Fiji on November 21.

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Heading out for a dive, Bora Bora: 2008

This is my third year in a row cruising  the South Pacific; first time to Fiji. On the itinerary this year: 3 different islands in Fiji, Tonga, 2 different Cook Islands, Bora Bora, Taha’a, Moorea, and then finish in Papeete. I’m not a big fan of cruising, but I obviously like this ship. It’s small, 300 passengers, and geared towards activity (diving, hiking, snorkeling, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking).

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Getting ready to snorkel in Rangiroa, 2007

It’s like summer camp because I get to meet up with with friends I met from the years before.

There’s Laksman from Sri Lanka. He’s a bartender on the ship. I met him the first year I was on board and last year we went ran together in the Marquesas and on Moorea.

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Running on Nuku Hiva, Marquesas with Laksman, 2008

There’s the Marina Crew. Martin L. (Montreal) who was my scuba instructor, Robert (Montreal), who was my water ski instructor, Martin B. (Montreal)  and Frederick (France), two more dive instructors, and Emily (Belgium) the travel desk coordinator. (All names pronounced the French way).

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Dominique, Me, Robert: 2007

There’s Dominique (Tahiti) who is the dive master. He wasn’t on board last year, but will be back this year. The crew changes based on contract length and vacations.

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The Marina Crew and Me, 2008

There’s the Engine Room Crew. They are all from Croatia. We would hang out at one of the ship’s bars at night and sometimes meet up on hikes.

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The Engine Room Crew, 2008

There’s Alex, one of the sommeliers. He’s from France.

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Desmond, Laksman, and Alex, 2008

Although I won’t see them this year, I’ve also made friend with other passengers who I’ve kept in touch through Facebook: Patrick from Eugene, Vanessa from Santa Monica, Olivier from France.  I love meeting new people. I wonder who I will meet this year.

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Kayaking in Taha'a, 2007

So what happened on November 20, 2009? Anything exciting?