Monday, September 24, 2012

Tour time

SV Gypsy Blues organized a 2-day tour of Upolu Island (Samoa) in a rented van for 15 cruisers. The first day included 3 different waterfall sites and an unusual swimming trench.

Here is a photo of the group: Judy and Jordan (Sea Turtle), Roderick (Happy Bird), Andy (Tina), Lisa (Lisa Kay), Helena and Gary (Merilelu), Dennis and Virginia (Libertad), Matt (Gypsy Blues), Yvonne (Happy Bird), Rene and Cheryl (Gypsy Blues), and Ben (Lisa Kay). Recognize anyone you know?

Photo taken by and courtesy of Larry of SV Lisa Kay

Behind the group was beautiful Papapapai-Tai Falls which is a 100-metre fall that you can only view from a distance.

First waterfall we visited

Next was Togitogiga Waterfalls where we swam under the lower falls which were not very high, but the current was very strong and it was difficult to get up close!

That's us waving on the far right!

Our 3rd waterfall of the day was Sapoaga Falls. By the entrance to the falls was a mailbox called the Honesty Box - if no one was at the gate, you were to put your entry fee into the box!

Falls crashing into vast gorge behind us...

The grounds had displays of an old Umukuka cooking house, Lali wooden drums, Kava plants, and a coconut shredder. We watched as a guide husked and shredded coconut meat and then squeezed the white flakes with raffia into a half coconut shell for everyone to try. Delicious!

Jordan holding shell as flakes are being squeezed

Jordan and I had purchased such a shredder several months ago and now, after tasting this treat, we'll be shredding and squeezing our own coconut meat.

Next stop: the To Sua ocean trench where we had a picnic lunch in an oceanside fale. A fale (pronounced fah-leh) is a round traditional covered structure with posts but no walls, is usually raised off the ground, and they vary a lot in size. Most homes have a fale in their front yards for family gatherings and/or celebrations. In fact, some even live in their fales, dropping mats or tarps around the sides for privacy when needed.

The gardens, flowers, and trees were immaculate as we wandered around the large, well-kept grounds. We also watched as a blowhole burst sea spume high into the air. Another fun formation was a tunnel originally formed by a lava tube that was in the rocks just at sea level and we had to make a run for it as the occasional ocean wave rushed through. Here is Cheryl of SV Gypsy Blues leaping up to escape the inrush of ocean!

Watch out!

The first trench, Le Sua, was for peering down into only but the second, To Sua, was an amazing sight. The tall steep ladder continued through the platform right into the ocean trench...

Time for a swim

The climb down was a little nerve wracking but the water was the perfect temperature for a hot day. You can only swim through the trench to the ocean at low tide. The tide was high when we were there but everyone could really feel the pull in and out from the surges of the sea through the underwater passage.

After great swimming, snorkelling, and even a bit of water ballet, we packed up and went back to the van for our last stop of the day.

SV Gypsy Blues had made reservations for everyone to spend the night at Taufau Fales next to the ocean.

Checking out our 4-person accommodation

The fales were very basic: mattresses on the floor with sheets, pillows, and mosquito netting provided. But what a view!! Also included was dinner and breakfast and as much coffee/tea as you wished. What a way to end a great day - lounging on the beach sand with a cold beer, swimming and snorkelling in the ocean, and visiting with great friends.

No comments: