27 June 2014
We did finally go up to the immigration office and it was very painless. There were a few forms to fill out which took about half hour all up. One of the forms for the captain to sign however does say that under no circumstances is anyone to be allowed onshore until cleared. Yet we both needed to sign forms.
The big white cathedral in the Albums is a brand new Catholic 13 million dollar replacement for the original which was over a hundred years old and was torn down to make way.
We decide to hire a Taxi for the day to take us around the island. Tukae our driver was a 20 year old Samoan who seemed to know every church we came across and believe me there are plenty. For every village there must have been 3 or 4 and the villages were almost non stop. Churches were of every denomination you could think of. Apparently the big island 'Savaii' has even more. Religion is a big part of the Samoan life, were they live in Family groups.
In front of lots of the house's were burial plots with sometimes granite headstones and quite often roofs over the whole lot. In some cases they took up more room than the smaller Fales, which are the traditional structures for living. They consist of a raised floor and roof but have no walls. When it rains they just hang some sort of protection on the one wall. Originally it would have been woven palm fronds but now, plastic tarps are the go. Now adayshere is also a house on site where each Family group gets a room.
We swam at a couple of places where the water was crystal clear, the fish life of every colour and the coral beautiful and varied. Probably my favourite place for the scenic aspect was what they call 'The trench' or To Sua. It is 2 big sink holes that are open at the bottom to the sea. You can access one via a ladder for a swim as the sea surges in and out. It has beautiful garden surrounding it. Should be a couple of pics in the Samoa Album.
A really cool spot for a snorkel is the Palolo deep marine reserve. It's located just around the corner from Apia marina, come off the dock turn left and walk maybe 200m. Once there you've got about a 50m swim in knee deep water out to the hole. It is inside the reef so well protected and visibility when we went was around 30ft. Fish life is absolutely incredible. There is every shape and colour you can think of and all quite visible from the surface or if you wish take a dive down the coral face to discover more hidden in the structure. Lots of fish that you would be proud to have in an tropical Aquarium. Going to go back for another visit for sure.
Have been back with Sean twice now and could go again if we were staying. Each time I've seen different things. The first time with Sean I was looking at these little things about 150mm long, yellow with black bands. They had pointy little noses and I thought they were eels. Sean seemed to think they were Seahorses even though they didn't have the traditional upright posture, pot bellies and curled tails. On closer inspection I think he was right, they had the tiniest belly and fins in the right spot it's just that they were stretched out like an eel. Even the head was more in line with there bodies than angled like a horse. Pretty cool anyway, we did see a dozen or more, mostly in pairs.
The next time we saw a Turtle vertical in the reef with his nose buried in a nook. He was hanging on to the reef with his back flippers and obviously eating something tasty but I couldn't see what it was. He had a tag in each front flipper so I'm guessing he's a local. Watched him feed for maybe two minutes, then when he finished he noticed us for the first time and ambled off to hide under a ledgein no hurry to go up for a breathe. Again, pretty cool.
Apia has been a good experience and one I really hope to enjoy again with my Beautiful wife someday. The beers are cold, and only 5Tala (around 2 bucks). The food is very reasonable, the seafood is sensational and the people are very friendly.
I'll be back.