M and the Bs had a whale of a time in Raratonga - sunshine (mostly), the sea just a few steps from our room, a swimming pool, a Kid's Club for B1. I was a bit more ambivalent, predictably enough given the emphasis on the dubious pleasures of the beach. I should mention that everybody except for me appeared to consider themselves to be in paradise, so I am fully cognisant that I'm the oddball here. I should also mention that I'm thoroughly grateful to my in-laws for the opportunity to go there in the first place.
Sticking to the positives, then, the snorkelling was truly stunning. The island is surrounded by a shallow lagoon, meaning that you never got out of your depth but could revel in the oh-so-clear water and enjoy an abundance of sealife including angelfish, octopus, moray eels, parrotfish and so on.
We also signed up for a torchlit night snorkel which was made particularly memorable by the sounds of a wedding disco being clearly audible throughout. The Chicken Dance, Ice Ice Baby, all the classics.
The diving was fantastic too - a small, low-hassle group and some exciting submarine geography containing turtles, sharks etc. Unfortunately my breathing rate was even more shocking than it used to be, resulting in some pretty brief dips for me, although everybody else went a lot better.
The other highlight was a coast-to-coast trek that took a few hours of fairly tough walking but showcased the dramatic verdant landscape. Our guide was a superfit 68 year old islander with blond dreads called Pa, a real character. He sped away a little too fast for some of us, and some of his views on alternative medicine raised eyebrows in our sceptic-heavy gang, but he was a real character who knew what he was doing.
Oh, and The Alexandra Quartet really is some book.