Samoa adventures part 1

Lars Alfredson
Fri 3 May 2013 07:50
20130501 Wednesday – The Grand Tour


0930 Fully kitted out, our rucksacks stuffed with towels, snorkels & masks and cameras etc. we pick up our hire car from town.

Compared to the cramped mini rust bucket of Niue this is a Rolls Royce. Immaculately clean our large sedan silently whisks us away

in air-conditioned comfort, not a rattle to be heard as we commence the grand tour of the island.


The Island is forested with coconut trees which grow all the way up to the very top of the volcanic peaks. Lower down the whole area

is covered in mat of creepers which entangle anything growing upwards. Giant fern trees add to the primordial atmosphere.


The island has many rivers fed by the tropical downpours that we have encountered that rapidly fill the permanent ones and soon bring

to life the dry beds. As we stop on a bridge we check the damage to it with its bent railings and part washed away approaches.

Apparently the damage has been caused by large trees which still lie trapped below it and would indicate a twenty foot rise in water level.


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                                                                         Waterfall at the bridge.


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                                                     Wash day.


In the water below two ladies are doing in the washing, sitting on rocks just offshore.

Beyond the bridge a section of rocky rapids then a waterfall before the river opens out and into the sea.


Crossing the bridge we are now on a single track road which runs along about half way up the mountain side giving spectacular views of the coastline, reefs and islands below.


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After about 10 kilometres the road peters out in a village where it turns into a grass track, despite what the map says.

The village is pretty typical and basic with most houses consisting of large open sided palm roofed constructions with raised platforms forming a floor some metres above ground level and above water and pig level.


Villagers gather in them to weave, woodwork or husk coconuts etc, while others serve as drying areas for clothes (If they’re not lying on the rocks)

sheltered from the incescent rain storms. Ironically despite the basic habitations, gardens are a magnificent example to the horticulalist art

with multi colours shrubs and bushes as well as immaculate tended “Lawns” methodically trimmed to the buzz of the skilfully wielded strimmers, then swept with witches brooms to remove the cuttings.


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                                        Gardners delight.                                                                                Fale with a view.


Retracing our track we return to the bridge and main road and continue on to swimming holes located in beautiful gardens further up the road.

There are steps down to the pool which is connected to the sea by a subterranean passage. The final descent is by a ten metre ladder onto a floating platform.


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                                                          To Sua cave pool.


Then it starts to rain again and we jump up into one of the nearby Fale’s mini versions of the houses. In a lull we run for it,

but where is Fred with the car keys? Having made it to the gatehouse we see a large lady with an even larger umbrella racing out to rescue Fred from the deluge and deliver him to the car.


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          Rescued  from the rain.                                                                                   Beach Fales. 


Lunch at the “Coconuts” beach resort. With only four other guests we’re the only ones in the dinning area over looking the beach hut

accommodation on stilts over the sea. They still rebuilding it after the devastating Cyclone and business is slow.


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                      Coconut Beach Resort                                                                                             More Coconuts.


After and excellent meal we carry on to another beach resort where their building a massive modern version of the Fale,

several floors high , which as its located on a newly constructed golf course we took to be the club house.

In fact it’s going to a Casino. Beachside there is a dive shop and sailing tours available.


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                                     The Casino. 


Nearby we come across a row of golf buggies and a sad looking yacht being slowly consumed by the undergrowth.


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                                       Reclaimed by the jungle


Every village has “Church” with each appearing to be competing with the other on size, colour and design,

there one for every one of every religious persuasion and many seminaries to keep the business running.


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Needless to say the islands are quite religious, with no work on Sundays and bars that don’t open till the evening.

The missionary zeal is still alive and well here in the south pacific.


The ship shore radio was on when all ears pricked up to hear “Brigitte Bardot” trying to contact the harbour master.

When she appeared, what a sight. It was like some thing out of James Bond when 100 feet of motor trimaran slid past us to pick up one of the harbour mooring buoys.


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                                 Big mean machine.


We had only been discussing the work of “Green Peace” and the “Sea Shepherds” recently, so imagine our surprise when this turned

out to be one of their boats, back from shadowing and harassing the Japanese whaling fleet.


That evening we went see the show in the marina. The heavens opened up yet again with a new ferocity, the walkway became a lake

but the show went on while the audience sat under dripping umbrellas and leaky roofs.


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                                                                    The show must go on in the rain.


All good things come to an end so bailing out the dinghy which as now full of rainwater we head back to base.


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