Day 4 Apia – Fagamalo
We got up early and had breakfast by ourselves as the netball girls were still sleeping in. We packed the car up and headed to the western end of Upolu to Mulifanua wharf to catch the ferry. We got there a little early but it was a nice day so it was enjoyable just to sit and watch the scenery etc. The car was supposed to have the underside washed but the man doing it more just sprayed in the whaeel arches – this is supposed to stop the spread of the Giant African Snail to Savaii. We were the first car on the boat and OH was a little worried about how close they wanted us to park to the side of the ferry – I could just get my door open wide enough to get out. The passage accross was lovely I didn’t feel seasick at all – the swell was about 1-2 metres in the middle of the straight. The highight was passing Apolima and seeing inside the crater where there is a small village and beach surrounded by a sheer outer wall volcanic cone rim. We arrived in Salelologa at 11.30 and picked up an adapter from the small electronics store there for me to be able to charge my camera. We drove up the coast to lalomalava and stopped at the Savaiian Hotel for lunch that took at least an hour at their restaurant overlooking the sea – service was good food was slow but view made up for the wait somewhat – although it will be better when they have finished building up the seawall and the grass is reestablished but the view over the reef to Apolima and Manono Islands and to the other main island of Upolu was fantastic.
Savaii has very lush vegetation and driving up the coast through the villages was really lovely and the fales on the beach at Si’ufaga and Lanolooked just the places for an afternoon siesta. We started to see more horses, chickens and pigs along the roadside. We stopped at the Saleaula lava fields and walked out onto them just before the village – even though the lava flow is only 100 years old there are trees already well established in some parts of the lava field. You understand the full force of the lava standing in the ruins of the LDS church where the lava flowed around the church and then flowed back in through the main doors that faced away from the mountain, towards the sea. there is a huge tree that has grown inside the church just in the last 100 years.
We arrived up at Savaii Lagoon Resort and checked in. Christoph greeted us – he and his partner Patricia manage the resort but he has also established a restaurant and Patricia does massage and reflexology that they run as their own businesses that run alongside the resort facilities. Before dinner we went down to the beach and paddled in the water – there are little fishes right up to the waters edge. The beach here is beautiful and I think we are going to love the 5 second stroll from our bugalow – it is the only one not on the beachfront but we have a view from our window through to the beach and a table and chairs set up outside looking straight down the path. Oh thinks he will be able to drink plenty of Vailima and relax there. Just before dinner we watched the sunset – it didn’t photograph as pretty as it looked.
Met T and T over dinner and Christoph came over to talk to us as we were finishing our dinner. He has amazing respect for Samoa and its environment and had wanted to open a lodge for people travelling up Mt Silisili (the largest mountain on Savaii), but getting the agreement of all the Matai (chiefs ) concerned at the planning stages proved a little difficult so he and Patricia are here at the resort for a 5 year contract. We didn’t finish chatting until 11pm.
We set the alarm so we would wake up early enough to have a snorkel before breakfast. You cant snorkel at low tide at the resort as the coral is too close to the surface then. My breating went a little funny when I tried to snorkel – out of practise as havent done it for a year – so I didnt snorkel as long as OH
Breakfast was fresh fruit, poached eggs on toast (with bacon for me) and lovely coffee. I also tried a mint tea that was very refreshing. When we came back toour room we got talking to the cleaner, Nellie – who looks about 18 years old but is actually 27, and she will come back when she finishes work and take us to her village to visit the Peapea caves. Rain went through in squalls all day so spent the day writing up my diary entries and reading – sometimes sitting on the beach and sometimes lying on the bed in the bungalow. At 3 Nellie came to get us and we drove down to Letui village approx 20 mins from Fagamalo. On the way Nellie pointed out other tourist attractions and points of interest and told us what the different trees were. Peapea cave is a lava tube that is home to swiftlets and bats – we were surprised to learn that the swiftlets use echolocation (clicks) to find their way in the dark of the cave. They have their tiny nests in the little nooks and crannies of the cave.
We went to Le Lagota, the resort next door, for tea as Christoph and Patricia have Sunday nights off. They joined all the other guests on the beach to watch the sunset. The resorts beach faces west so we get some great sunsets over the sea. Le Lagota does a BBQ for dinner on Sundays. Meat was a little overcooked but salads etc were very nice. I didn’t manage to meet up with Sara the owner of Le lagota who is N’s(my friend from Uni) relative but did have the cocktail that was named for her – it was delicious. We had an earlier night 9.30pm and slept like a log
Just had the tropical breakfast today – fresh fruit platter, toast etc and tried the cocoa samoa, (samoan version of hot chocolate)
We snorkelled in the morning for about an hour or so. – I got my breathing right this time . The current goes from right to left along the beach so to conserve energy we swam out at northern end of beach and I allowed myself to drift down the beach. Even close to the beach the coral and fish are plentiful. There is an inner and outer reef and so far we have just snorkelled the inner reef. Dive Savaii who are based just over the road from the resort,(run by a frenchman -quite a European enclave here -Christoph and Patricia are German), can take you out further but we havent bothered as there is plenty to see on the inner reef.
Nellie had dropped of 2 coconuts (1.50 Tala) – I managed to open the eyes of one using the corkscrew and drained 1 1/2 glasses of coconut milk- then I got Chris to crack it open and slice the flesh. The flesh was softer than the mature coconuts we get in New Zealand.
I spent the rest of the morning reading on the beach – the rain still coming through in the odd squall. Next door to the resort is Sekia pizza operated by an Austrian guy married to a Samoan woman. We had it for lunch – wonderful flavourful pizzas with a thin crispy base. After a small siesta we drove to Mata’olealelo Spring at Safune approx ten minutes down the road. This is a fresh water spring on the edge of a lagoon with quite a large volume of water coming out of the ground.It is the locale for the Samoan legend of how the coconut came into being. A quite heavy rain squall come through so we decided against stopping at Dwarfs cave etc on the way back. Despite the great nights sleep the previous night I was still very sleepy when we came back so had a small nap when we came back. We watched the sunset again and OH tried to to take some photos of the crabs coming out to scavenge at dusk.
We liked the pizza so much we had it again for tea – this time one pizza each- and got a bottle fo wine from the resort so we could have pizza and wine in our bungalow. we knew we wouldnt eat a whole pizza each but thought it would make good leftovers for lunch the next day.
I woke up several times during the night -but still woke feeling very refreshed but quite early (before 7 am).i got dressed and sat on the beach- not quite sunrise but got a little of the halflight of dawn and there wasn’t another soul on the beachfor a good 20 minutes.
Snorkelled for about 1 1/2 hours then camme back and showered. Opened second coconut and got 2 whole glasses of coconut milk out of it this time. the young Samoan man opened it for us and the flesh inside this one was even softer and sweeter than yesterdays – it could be scooped out with a spoon. OH decided he liked coconut this way – he’s not a big fan of mature coconut but he doesnt mind the coconut milk and flesh out of these very young coconuts. Sat on beach to read and write diary and postcards – then had left over pizza for lunch along with coconut and pawpaw (T&T had picked up several pawpaw on the trip round the isaland the day before and gave us two which we were very grateful for. In the afternoon we headed around to Manase to do emails and get cocktails at Raci’s Beach Club. the same couple run both – the internet cafe by the service station and the cocktail bar on the beach. From the bar you can look back across the bay to our resort.
We went back to have a coffee and a snorkel just before sunset OH got out of the water before I did and managed to get the wonderful shot I posted last week. Its my favourite photo of the whole holidays. We did dinner at Christophs restaurant at the resort – had to different versions of the same fish – one panfried one poached in a fish pot – both were equally delicious.
Day 8 Fagamalo- Lalomalava
We were very sad to leave Savaii Lagoon Resort – its quite a magical place. We exchanged contact details with T&T (who live in Howick). Then I had a minor panic when I couldn’t find my new camera – was in my bag the whole time but had slipped behind other things.
We drove west to Asau harbour and had a drink stop at the Vaisala Beach Hotel. The hotel is a bit run down but has gorgeous views over Asau harbour and the reef. We debated whether to go out to Falealupo – the most western aprt of the world (closest to the International dateline) but decided that the Alofa’aga blowholes were the priority for the day so drove down to the south coast of Savaii – we stopped at the bowholes and there was a large swarm of what looked like turquoise monarch butterflies going absolutely nuts over the fruit of one particular tree. I wondered whether or not the fruit they seemed to be most attracted to, being brown, had fermented as they seemed to be quite ‘buzzed’ by whatever they were drinking. The blowholes themselves, were very impressive and veryvery unpredictable which actual hole was going to blow at any given time so you can waste a lot of time, camera space trying to catch the big one. As you head east from the blowholes along the souther coast there are spectacular cliffs and sea arches so we stopped to take some photos of the view along the cliffs.
It was a very hot day and I was starting to get a headache so we decided against going to thte Puleilei Mound or the Afu A’au Falls. So we headed through Salelologa and up the coast to Lalomalava to stayat the Savaiian Hotel for the night in one of their garden fales – a bit basic but clean and comfortable, although you did need to watch the step down inot the bathroom – obviously added on out the back after the fale was built.
OH went for a wander around the garden while I had a rest before dinner and collected some frangipanni that had fallen on the ground. and put them on the bed beside me – they smelt glorious but they started bringing on a touch of hayfever so I had to move them away from me. We had dinner at their restaurant and while we were waiting for the various courses OH amused himself by taking photos of all the geckos and spiders that were lying in wait for the insects that were drawn in by the restaurants lights.
Photos of days 4-8 can be found in my facebook album (of the same name) here