The Big Island of Savai’i

The Big Island of Savai’i
Manase, Samoa

Manase, Samoa


Wake up at 4am – it’s still dark. Wake up at 6am, burnt orange light seeps through the gaps of the tree branch walls, into my chalet. It’s the Savai’i sunrise, and it’s spectacular. The sky lights up, and with it, my front yard; the lagoon. The water transforms and develops from darkness, into an emerald green, then to a deep aquamarine. It’s so pretty, you have to pinch yourself. Tui and I have a post breakfast talk before my day tour. He has 3 kids, to three different women, in 3 different countries! This guy has been busy. Here I was, thinking a young religious Samoan, would marry, and procreate, with just one partner. Not the case. My tour guide for the day is Sam. The tour group is a trio, consisting of me, and an old German couple (Already wishing I’d hired a car). The husband is donning a significant pedo moustache, glasses, and looks like he hunts children in his spare time… His wife looks like she cooks the children, and eats them… All of them. Hefty. Sam takes us to see the Alofa’aga Blowholes. The blowholes are located by the sea, forged into the volcanic cliffs on the Southern coast of Savai’i. At the blow holes, the weather turns from sunny to saturating. Water is coming from all directions – shooting up out of the blow holes and pelting down from the sky. Wind, rain and rough seas. This is the kind of weather you stay inside and tape the windows for. The big island of Savai’i, gets big weather, and the ocean is wild and furious, like the stomach of a lactose intolerant 40 year old at a cheese tasting. Sam drove us out of the weather, back into the shine shine, and to the Afu Aau Waterfall. Medium in size, tropically picturesque, lush to the eyes and cold to the touch. These falls are best coupled with a sweltering hot day and a clear schedule. A fair drive later, we are in the village of Sapapalii, in front of the John Williams memorial. Who is John Williams? I had my money on him being an Australian country singer. Turns out I was wrong. Arriving in 1830, John Williams (a missionary) spearheaded the Christian movement in Samoa. Sam said the native Samoans thought John Williams was sent from heaven, because he was so white, like a banana rolled in cocaine (okay, Sam didn’t compare John Williams pasty complexion to a cocaine coated banana, but you get the point). Samoans called him “Palagi” (pronounced, par-lungi, Pa=Father + Lagi=Heaven). Sam looks at me and says, “I’m sure you’ve heard that word”. I hadn’t, and he explained that “Palagi”, means “heavenly explosion”, or “white skin”… I heard that word a lot after Sam made me aware of it. In 1839, John Williams ventured to the New Hebrides, to spread the Christian message. When visiting the island of Erromango, he was clubbed to death, and eaten, by cannibals. Williams was mourned heavily by the Pacific Islanders he’d preached to. His death is said to have marked the end of cannibalism in Samoa. You heard right, Samoans used to practice cannibalism. Following the road that wraps around the eastern side of the island, we are in the village of Lano. There is little sand to be seen at the beaches in Lano, where fales and coconut palms are all that separates the road and the water. To be honest, I’d use the term “beach” loosely. The Samoan islands are indeed volcanic masses and the ratio of black rock to sand, is far greater. Travelling further north, I look out the window, to a wide, black, desolate space (my heart.. Joking). The Sale’aula Lava fields. Plants and people surprisingly coexist in this terrain but it’s eerie and largely unpopulated in these parts. The next stop in Manase (Man-assey), is one that I want nothing to do with. Feeding, and swimming with turtles. The turtles are not in the wild, they’re not here for rehabilitation, or a breeding program, they’re forced to live in over crowded, murky, man made pools, eating only papaya. Sam said they get released into the wild once they’re big enough but after seeing the size of them, they were big enough 10 years ago. The elderly Germans care not for animal rights and aren’t phased by the fact they are contributing to the continuation of a business that makes money from the ill treatment of animals. They are excited, not bothered, by the conditions these turtles are dying in. Stupid, ignorant, tourists. #freetheturtlesinsavaii The tour was cut short, as the old Germans needed to make the 4pm ferry back to Upolu. Back at Lucia’s, I kayak way out of the protected lagoon, to an ocean beacon that marks the ferry runway. The big ferry is disappearing slowly into the distance and taking with it, Ze German couple. I sit in the kayak, bobbling away on the water, staring out at the horizon, wondering about home, my future, what my loved ones are doing and what the chances are of me getting attacked by a shark… I haven’t even seen any sharks in Samoa, and I’m disappointed. It seems too safe. At dinner, I caught the news on TV for the first time in over a week. Horribly depressing and sad to see we are still crashing planes, killing people and being generally, **** at life. The sound of loud music travels across the water, from the nightclub down the road and into my chalet… Serenity soiled. I arrange 2 extra pillows. With 4 pillows, I have one to spoon me, one for me to spoon and one for over and under my head. Pillow partner and pacifier. Perfect.

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