Alofi ,Niue 19degrees 03.32S 169degrees 55.45W to Samoa 13 degrees 49S 171degrees 45.80W

We let the Alofi mooring lines go at 15.30  Monday 27th June and headed north west to Samoa about 400 nm . So we are off the milk run now ! We started on a nice reach with a 25kt wind from ESE and made good speed towards our  target .The next day conditions became more difficult with an increased swell from the SE and a  stronger wind so the third reef in the main was required . The wind was 30kts gusting higher and the 4m swell rolled Baringo mercilessly . At each violent lurch our major concern was that Poppy the auto helm would give up and the thought of hand helming in these conditions all the way to Samoa filled our hearts with doom . The only upside was we were making good speed and indeed Samoa was sighted at 13.05 on Wednesday 29thJune . We were approaching  the SE corner of Upulo the main although not the largest island .

Approaching Samoa

Approaching Samoa

 

Apia the port and capital city is on the north coast of Upulo and as dusk was approaching  when were   closing the coast we thought we would anchor in the  purportedly sheltered Fagiola bay  on the NE corner .As we entered the long bay hoping for some shelter from wind and swell they both seemed to follow us in ! Surely this would  improve as we got deeper into the bay so we continued but the next problem was the chart plotter putting us in 1.0 m depth when the depth meter read 50 m ! The charts appeared to be about 0.5 mile out from the reality.

Fagoloa bay from the land looking very benign

Fagoloa bay from the land looking very benign

In dusk it is impossible to see the reefs so it was back out to sea in the failing light . Neither of us favoured a night entry into Apia  port with its reef strewn entry and uncertainty about the navigation lights so we opted for dollying up and down the leading line until dawn .At first this was rather daunting as the wind was still blowing 25kts and there was no moon and FADs ( fish aggregating devices )  were reported in the vicinity by the admiralty pilot book ! As the night progressed the wind settled and we saw no FADs and got used to the town lights and jibed up and down the line using only the little jib making a suitably slow 2-3kts .
Knowing dawn would come and we could enter the port made the strategy easier and indeed dawn arrived on cue and we easily entered Apia port thinking we might easily have done it in the dark! However we were safe even if a little tired . At 07.30 on Thursday 30th June we anchored near the commercial wharf and waited instructions for the port authority . As Samoa is on the other side of the dateline it was now Friday 1st July and judging by the time our instructions finally arrived from the port  authority  I think the weekend had already started ! We finally motored over to  the marina and tied up around 14.00 . The quarantine and customs visited us and we just got to the immigration office in town before it closed. We were here!

 

Something about Samoa
We thoroughly enjoyed the flat still waters of the marina after being thrown around during the voyage  and after a good nights sleep cleaned the boat from all the salt that had become encrusted everywhere . The marina is a little tired although the pontoons are in good condition .Indeed the second outer pontoon no longer exists after being blown away by a typhoon a few years ago but the back drop of the lush green mountains was scenic .

pontoon destroyed by previous typhoon

pontoon destroyed by previous typhoon

We walked to town about 20 minutes and found a well stocked supermarket “Lucky Foodtown “ and replenished our supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables as these had been scarce in Niue . We certainly appreciated the unlimited power and water of the marina as well as the lack of movement ! On  Sunday morning we went to church primarily to hear the singing which was very harmonious but we paid for it listening to a 45minute evangelical sermon! Everyone was dressed up in their Sunday best with wonderful hats so it was a colourful and cheerful scene.

Samoa cathedral. But we went to smaller protestant church near the marina

Samoa cathedral. But we went to smaller protestant church near the marina

off to church

off to church

off to church in best clothes!

off to church in best clothes!

church choir

church choir

We had met “Junior” the self styled  marina tour guide and had a very pleasant island tour with him on Monday .There is lots to see : Villa Vailima where Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last 4 years of his life , a wonderfully  peaceful  Bahai temple , a clear waterfall pool  to swim in , To Sua trench a deep swimming pool in the larva and a delicious  lunch in the Seabreeze resort. The south west end of Upolu has wonderful long stretches of coral sand beaches with several beach fales to stay in. These are slightly flimsy structures with a wooden floor and roof but no walls.

Viallema home of Robert Louiss Stevenson

Viallema home of Robert Louis Stevenson

RLS fireplace never used not surprisingly!

RLS fireplace never used not surprisingly!

 

RLS tomb with requiem poem on side

RLS tomb with requiem poem on side

typical samoan road-nicely kept

typical samoan road-nicely kept

clock tower Apia town

clock tower Apia town

Serene Baha'i temple

Serene Baha’i temple

View over Somoa very lush countryside

View over Somoa very lush countryside

Ocean trench

Ocean trench

swimming in waterfall pool

swimming in waterfall pool

South coast beach

South coast beach

 
We then decided to hire our own car having got the measure of the island with Junior and went around the other but less attractive way around western side of the  island . There is a lagoon in many parts but where there have been volcanic eruptions the larva flow has obliterated the lagoons and run out as far as the reef. The Samoan villages are all immaculately kept and a joy to drive through.
We booked a ferry to Savai’i the larger but less developed island and we left at 08.00 on Thursday  for an overnight stay  .It is a truly unspoilt paradise , so green and empty with many beautiful deserted beaches. The ferry journey was 1.15 hours to Saleologa across the Apolima strait  Our first stop was another delightful waterfall pool  under a 14m waterfall and quite enchanting . Next we saw the Alofa’aga blow holes which were pretty dramatic and very noisy .The power of the water forced through the holes in the larva  was amply demonstrated by  the warden throwing coconuts into the hole to be tossed several possibly about 100 feet into  the air  with the water. All quite exciting  and the coast line of larva looked very hostile. The peace and tranquillity of the island was palpable;  we had everywhere to ourselves and a great picnic overlooking a dramatically colourful wave beaten larva bay . We stayed the night in Stevensons Hotel on the north coast and slept in a beach fale whose sides are open to the sea breeze and the sound of lapping waves , we snorkelled in crystal  clear water  and although there were a few other guests we seemed to have the beach to ourselves . We had to go back to Upulo the next day but wishing we had decided to spend longer in Savai’i it has just the right amount of comfort  but remains unspoilt …for how long?

Ferry to Savaii

Ferry to Savaii

rough south coast of Savaii

rough south coast of Savaii

blowhole with coconut in the air somewhere!

blowhole with coconut in the air somewhere!

beach fale with sides down

beach fale with sides down

 

Inside Beach Fale

Inside Beach Fale

typical ubiquitous meeting house

typical ubiquitous meeting house

beach outside Stevensons "hotel"

beach outside Stevensons “hotel”

picnic site for lunch stop

picnic site for lunch stop

Julia swimming in waterfall pool Savaii

Julia swimming in waterfall pool Savaii

We kept the car as we wanted to do the walking trail to RLS’s tomb, he is buried on the hill above his beautiful home with his wife who died some year after him. He died prematurely at 44 years in Vailima. The rest of our time in Samoa was spent doing a few boat jobs ,shopping ,swimming and snorkelling at the nearby marine park and preparing for the next sail to Wallis.

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