Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 - Start of a new Year

2009 – A new year living in Paradise.

We finally got the inflatable up and after New Year it was launched for a run to the fish market and out to a coral cay offshore. After a run around Mulinou Point we came back to see a rather large storm cell descending on us. So it was a scramble to beat the rain and wind as we stuffed it into the tray of the ute. It now resides on a pulley system in the rafters under the house.

I caught my first taxi (Why run in rain when you can cheat!! ) at Hash last Monday as I found myself a lonesome dove jogging in rain squalls a long way from the keg. The leaders finally got back after visiting the Royal Samoan Golf Course some great distance from the keg. (What had not been explained to us, was that there was no return run as a truck had been dispatched to pick us up, the few who made it to the truck were so cold waiting that they elected to run all the way back). There was lots of fine food and the numbers doubled after the run had started (who likes running in puddles and rain squalls).
The run was at a house reminiscent of a “canal residence” with wide covered verandahs behind an island with stunning views of the reef and the island. The keg was gone and floating by 8.00 and I was offered a lift home after only one down down for supposed-oddly chatting up a “mare”.

It has been a “torrid” social week for me, last Friday I met a new arrival in town for lunch a walk around town and quick shop. Saturday was a Dinner Party with expat friends from the Sunshine Coast followed by a Dance Party with Hash people. Of the 20 odd dancers there were 8 nationalities, a mini UN. Tuesday was Ladies Morning Tea and another drive around and a shopping expedition for some new arrivals.
Wednesday I launched the inflatable early and took two boys trolling along the coast inside the reef on a full tide. They enjoyed their experience manning the O/B tiller as I monitored the lures. We stopped at a coral cay for morning tea and left with a gecko to add to one of the boy’s captive breeding program at home.

Thursday was Art Group and we had one extra and had a great time. I finished my beach scene of Lalomanu Beach and sealed some small scenes from a popular children’s picture book to give to grandchildren and friends. At afternoon tea “we” (F actually got home for a few minutes) gave the painting and a copy of the book to “S” who is two and her dad had to read it four times that evening before bedtime. A tribute to children’s love of repetition of a good story.
Friday was a ladies farewell lunch at Paddles and I was not the only male but only one of three. I was also able to get a disc of the Christmas Hash and you can check out some pics of my naming ceremony. Friday night we invited some local friends for our first BBQ on the deck. It was an easy social evening as we chatted as the marinated steaks bubbled away on the BBQ. We cheated a bit as the tropical salad was from Giordano’s Pizzeria. An excellent end to a hectic week.

We are packing for a short sojourn to Brisbane and I am having a week in Perth with the grandkids. No post next week.

All our best

Pics from the Christmas Hash – Non-regulation Elf headgear (Cost of one Down Down) – Let the Naming begin – Egg, beer and flour – The Vodka concoction – Clean up next to the fire engine – post clean-up – Mr Whippy back-chats the GM - Confused AC/DC, beer:vodka;champagne –The Maestro looks on. - My second painting effort (Lalomanu Beach, alias the Gold Coast) - Pipe repairs Samoan style - Group at waterfall - D,H,R&F,I.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Savaii (The Big Island)

Savaii Trip
After Christmas lunch at Sinaeli Resort with friends, we packed for our trip to Savaii Island.
On Boxing Day we were up early to catch the 8am vehicle ferry from Mulifanua to Salelologa. The Hilux was already packed and we drove out past the airport to the terminal and joined the queue. There are two ferries, a large one (which we were on) with through deck and air conditioned lounge upstairs, and another basic barge. After a 70 minute crossing we arrived at Salelologa Wharf and drove west to Afu Aau Waterfall for a swim and snorkel, next was climbing the largest stone mound in the Pacific at Pulemelei (Tia Seu) Ancient Mound. Not the track to take after rain with two and a half k of low 4WD, we climbed the mound for a view to the coast. It reminded me of the step pyramids of ancient Yucatan. The Alofaaga Blowholes were our last stop before crashing at our accommodation. The old matai (village elder) who throws coconut husks into the holds has the best job on the island. He laughs throughout the session and charges 20 tala. On big wave days he uses whole coconuts. Most of our pictures have the husks out of frame as they shot up high into the air. After lunch at his beach fale we drove to the northern tip of the island at Fagamalo and our large fale at Le Lagoto resort. ( )
This is the best accommodation on the island with air conditioned fales in luxury mode. The roof was traditional with plait weaving and heavy beams supporting the roof and no internal supports. We went snorkeling off the beach and I went for a double dive with the local dive shop situated across the road. There is the wreck of the Juno - an iron sailing ship that ran up on the reef in 1881 and was deposited into the lagoon after a cyclone some years later. She is in remarkable condition with the bow spit at 22 meters and the stern at 14. You can swim about the trusses and beams and marvel at the fish life. Second dive was closer in on a reef drop off. Fish sighted were a large Maroi Wrasse, cod, turum, a couple of turtles and an electric anemone, anemone fish and so on. We also experienced feeding and swimming with turtles. They loved the paw paw that we saved from our tropical breakfast. F got a huge buzz from this and we went back a second time for more photos. On our drive to the most westerly piece of Samoa at Cape Mulinuu (the place where the souls of the dead pass into the underworld) we stopped at the Dwarves Cave for a caving experience. You enter a hole in the ground and enter an underground lava tube the size of a railway tunnel running at an angle into the ground and finally a flooded section. This is an experience for torches and footware that can get wet. So we enjoyed our getaway on the Big Island – things that impressed us were that there are a lot more bicycles and most of the roads are in better condition as there is less traffic. Everywhere you went over Christmas the villages were trimmed for the surge of family that were visiting. This led to lots of smoke in the weeks before as the hedge trimmings were disposed of.
We avoided the New Year’s crowds for a quiet celebration at home watching TV.
Hope you all had a safe and happy break.