On Sunday 13 March Aurora was alongside her berth in Apia in Somao. It was great to get ashore on a beautiful day as the last time I was here on Arcadia's Round World Cruise 2010 we were being chased by hurricane Rene and we could only call to pick up Clare Sweeney and debark a couple of people who had bad news from home - we then sailed on.................
Apia is the capital of Samoa, located on the northern coast of Upolu Island. It is the nation's major port and only City. Beautiful beaches, waterfalls and friendly locals sum it up! Being a Sunday most people were at Church in the morning and the City shops were closed - how refreshing to get some peace and quiet! Samoa's land area is about the size of Dorset UK. Most people ended up in Aggie Greys (sp?) the Local Hotel where the staff were so welcoming, a lovely pool and wonderful food and drink - half the ship was there by all accounts!
Welcome to Apia in Samoa, the Land of the Sacred Chickens, where the pace of life is so laid-back it's only a heartbeat away from being a nice little snooze. Here we met wonderful people, deserted beaches and sparkling wonderful waterfalls – in other words, one of the remaining paradises on earth – or maybe not according to your impression.
We were alongside at the port of Apia. It’s a commercial port with nothing in the way of facilities on the quayside, but it does provide a relatively flat surface once ashore where there were a few stalls for local souvenir shopping. The local traders were busy setting up their goods as we made our way off to check all was well for the passengers to proceed ashore. The local guides roughly split between men and ladies were chatting about items of news or just contemplating the day’s events.
It is tradition here to wear a lava-lava, which is a kind of sarong not just on the tours but generally, for they are cooler than trousers.
Apia waterfront is very attractive indeed and makes for a lovely stroll and a chunk of independent exploration. It was safe to simply meander along the road and there we would see many miles of deserted beaches that offered great views, this was a real paradise, no crowded beaches, no fast food, just raw virtually untouched land.
Samoan tattoo is traditional and allows the wearer to artistically display and announce his or her Samoan heritage and cultural pride. The men tend to get their work done around 27 years old.
Religion is a big part of everyday life here and we saw various places of worship. Sundays are definitely sacred days when EVERYONE visits church and in days not too long ago those that did not attend were fined.
In some ways Samoan villages can appear to be one continuous village, with fales or open meeting houses, churches and gardens running into more fales, churches and gardens.
One of the prominent features of the coastline here is Flower Pot rock, this is a huge lump of coral that the locals say resembles a flower pot, well maybe!
The north-east coast of Upolu is wild and beautiful and has changed little over the decades, apart from the new tarmac roads of course. The road I was travelling took us to the very beautiful Falafa Falls. Although not huge in comparison to many other falls around the world these are still beautifully set and could be a setting for a film.
Nature has certainly graced this island with an abundance of plant life. In Gina’s Tropical Gardens there’s a vast array of different varieties of flowers, plants and fruit to be wondered at such as heliconia, birds of paradise, frangipanis, ginger or pineapple, to name just a few. Fantastic trees that have grown so quickly in the ideal conditions on the island are a credit to the owner the delightful Gina. Gina now runs the garden since her husband sadly passed away last year and is buried in the garden that he loved so much.
Our passengers loved it as well and they certainly loved the fresh fruits that Gina had provided for us as a taste of paradise, this was a paradise for gardeners.
I loved the island or at least what I managed to see in the time of the morning P&O Cruises tour. The people were fantastic and welcoming and the scenery was their equal, no wonder the writer Robert Louis Stevenson chose to live here for many years and is in fact buried here.
Thank you Graham............as always.......
I hosted a table at a Grand Voyage Lunch today in the Alexandria Restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and cheery company - we laughed a lot - it was a blast! So many lovely people on this ship for this Grand Voyage 2011 - it really will be one to benchmark against for years to come.
Hope you are all well wherever you are and thank you for your messages - do keep them coming - I do not always answer them straight away but I get round to them eventually.
Fa'afetai & Tofa soifua! ( Thank you and Good Bye)
Never cut what you can un-tie.