Dancing with the first mate seems to be about a biannual event but last night as we were enticed across the road from the marina by the sounds of a Samoan band, that frequency might be on the increase. Unable to resist moving to the beat I jumped up and joined the few locals on the dance floor. It wasn’t long before I was sandwiched between two well-built heavily tattooed young Samoan lads swaying rhythmically to the swooning reggae beat. It was almost a claustrophobic situation they were so close. Did I mention how muscly they were? Anyway, the Captain shocked me on the next dance when he jumped up and said, “Let’s go.” “Where to?” I enquired. “The dance floor of course.” He was called to action when he realised that if he wasn’t going to dance with me, then there were plenty of hunky Samoan lads who’ll oblige and – who don’t have a proximity issue. I love it when the Captain dances and wish it was more often, but he’s not a disco remnant like myself.
The music, the people and the culture are everywhere here. Passionately maintaining their traditional way of life with family being the centre of their world, the Samoans love to share with visitors. A free three hour performance at the nearby cultural centre introduced us to many facets of this island. In the evening we visited a local club where they take the children selling items off the street and teach them the traditional skills of Samoan fire dancing. The performance began with the little guys beginning with a modern hip hop routine and morphing into a traditional dance. The age of the performers increased along with the intensity and skills with the fire.
One particularly disturbing routine was the Volcano Dance which had a fellow hopping over a brazier with flames licking at his undersides. There were a few breathtaking moments when his skirt made of palm fronds caught alight. Some gentlemen in the audience turned away, unable to watch the spectacle. To lessen the heart rate, a troop of beautiful Samoan ladies wooed us with their sensuous traditional dance in between the different fire dances.
When we first arrived in Samoa we discovered that we had anchored in the dark next to Cetacea, a boat that we had first encountered in the Marquesas two years ago. We managed to catch up with Gail and Tony and found out that they were on their way to Tonga. There are a lot of items for purchase here in comparison to Tonga so we went halves in buying Peggy a whole lot of sporting equipment for the school where she teaches.
We also managed to get enough basketballs for Melissa in Nuku’alofa to help with her basketball coaching. The ladies are thrilled that they’re on their way. Tony and Gail will make the delivery. It was wonderful catching up with these fun-loving happy Americans.
Junior, aptly named as he is in line to be the next chief of his village, runs a taxi service focusing on giving cruisers a tour of the island. We took the road that splits the island in half, over the mountain range to the southern side of the island. On the way we visited the tree houses. What a funky creative place to stay. We were tempted to book in there but the price of $350 USD put us off.
Thick jungle lined the road and we stopped to admire a long drop waterfall at the head of a valley renown for pig hunting. It is a tropical paradise.
Once on the coast we visited a resort so we could access the beach and then continued to a waterfall where we could swim amongst the fish. We lunched at a beach resort where inexpensive fales line the shore. Prices of the fales range from about $15AUD to $50AUD and many include food and all your bedding. The beach was white and protected by a rim reef. We have decided to explore this option of accommodation as we do a land tour of the other half of the island.
My other call to action has been about the promotion of my book. I know it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea but I would like to get it out there to the people who can learn something from it. I appreciate all those supportive friends who have already purchased it and I know some have finished it already and given me positive feedback. Thank you. Now I am trying to share more information via linking a Facebook group to my web page where I hope people from all over the world can connect and meet up traveling somewhere in the world or just share ideas.
I also have a Facebook page for the book which I am promoting. This it has been fun creating it and I’m enjoying the short bursts of writing that I’m doing to add information. So my call to action for you is to help me with spreading the word about my book, Backpacker’s Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Universe, so people can benefit from my experiences in the realm of budget travel. Hopefully, it will also raise some funds to go towards our traveling.
Scooting around the other half of the island was the best option for us to continue our exploration. The roads to the east were less busy so it wasn’t too dangerous. The drivers here aren’t used to people on bikes. The danger actually lay in going through the villages where some naughty kids threw stones. Just showing off I guess. One young fellow got a fright when Thomas stopped the bike and went towards him asking him if he was looking for trouble. Both his mates quickly pointed at the culprit and said it was him not them. Otherwise the scooter was great because we had a good view of everything.
We took a bush track down towards a resort and ended up staying the night at Matareva Beach Fales. Stormy weather forced us to take a bungalow instead of a fale. We were a bit disappointed about that as waking up watching the surf rolling in would have been quite spectacular. We were given a huge evening meal with lots of salad and local vegetables and breakfast was almost as large. Talking with the family gave us an insight to the dreams and aspirations of the Samoan family.
Tavita, the matai, (chief) of his family plans to refurbish the resort, help restore the reef to create a coral garden, open up a lava tube near his farm and build a market garden. All big plans to help create financial security for the family and the youth of the village. We are calling people to action who have the skills and knowledge to assist them. They are offering free accommodation to anyone who would like to come and stay and work at the properties. You can connect with the family on helpx, an exchange site where you can find places to stay all over the world.
Tavita took us to the lava tube and we hiked through for a few hundred metres. It was pretty cool. There were stone platforms where families had stayed; perhaps during Tongan invasions years ago, evidence of cooking areas and maybe even a grave site. On the way out of the cave, there was a crazy concentrated light beam. It was so strong that you felt like you could put your hands around it. It appeared to be solid. We felt honoured to be shown through the caves. The family is of the Baha’i faith and they invited us to the temple on Sunday and then back to their place for lunch and to stay the night. We agreed as we were enticed by the promise of beautiful singing and we weren’t disappointed.
Thomas repaired a frozen laptop for them and they were pretty happy as they needed it for their coral presentation to the village chiefs that night. They were wanting to get approval to make a marine protected area. Their presentation was fantastic and after only three minutes they had an approval. Plus approval to open the resort on a Sunday. It was interesting watching the process of village politics in action.
While the meeting was going on, three of their five boys were playing with the bubble blowers that I had brought along for them to play with. They were extremely successful and ended up playing with them for nearly three hours. After the meeting we played cards and different games. Just my type of evening. We were made to feel very welcome and they now call themselves our Samoan family. We’re happy to have been adopted and wish them all the success for the future.
More pics below…