Saturday, September 26, 2009

American Samoa Va'a tele visits Apia and Sinalei Reef Resort

I was able to sail offshore from Apia last Thursday for a couple of hours and the Va'a tele was on the hard at Sinalei Reef Resort last Sunday for a lunch provided by the Samoan Voyaging Society(I am a member), some great shots and video.
Having fun in the Pacific - free trip around the Sun every year - Yahoo !!!!!!!

Offshore Apia in rain squalls - note rope assistant and snubber for shock on steering oar

Steering with traditional crab-claw sails - love the tatts

Twin main sails and a small jib set

Chicken's head on steering oar

Crew member - "Pirates of the South Pacific" ???????

Big oar and outboard well - 50hp Yamaha (IRON Sail)

Artwork is distinctive to each va'a and reflects the national designs

Sharp end

Head (DUNNY) is the front door on the hut - no standing room, bring your own bucket filled with sea-water to flush with. BIT CRAMPED

On the hard at Sinalei Reef Resort looking towards Coconuts Resort and Liquid Motion Dive shop and tours

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Up to Road Switch Weekend - Savaii

Up to Road Switch Weekend - Savaii

I have not posted for over a month and I apologise for my tardiness, it has been all hands on deck as I have tried to crush in as much living as I can between Haem/Onc visits. With MM although it is in the Smouldering stage it can turn on you at any time. I have joined a listserv on MM and I have picked up many tips on survival and coping – you live life in 3 month blocks.
On the Samoan front we attended a Samoan Ports Authority Tenth Anniversary Dinner and F got to present a large cheque to the lucky stevedoring winner. The entertainment was spectacular with groups from Hawaii and American Samoa. I was able to get some great digital of the fire siva.
Places we have been recently have included a weekend at Sa’moana Resort for a night solo scuba dive. I ran out 70 meters of rope to find the special spots in the afternoon and followed them with the still digital, then a night snorkel to retrieve all the rope. Lesson learnt is to make a reel for the rope so you don’t get tangled in the dark while trying to retrieve 70 meters. My other project has been Bucket-Cam. I mounted the video housing in a bucket, cut out the base for the lens, the side for the mirror view-finder, attached some tape lead for weight, some lights from polly pipe and O-rings, two 9 LED bulbs, battery packs and wiring from head-lamps, some plastic bottle bases for diffusers and you have bucket-cam. You can push it amongst the coral and video the fish and coral up close and personal. Unfortunately the housing is only good for 5 meters, but I am specializing in night snorkeling and low tides for steady video. I have also been videoing the local kids swim group at the Olympic pool. They love to watch themselves doing tumble turns and starts on the laptop.
Art Group has relocated to a new location with plenty of space for all of us. I am currently working on a 900x600 scene and a smaller avant-garde of a popular children’s book. In the works is a trypitch of a split scene mostly underwater. Other offerings include a free thrown post-modern canvas. So I am squashing tubes of paint and working wet on wet in oils with brushes, knives, toothbrushes, rollers and fingers and having lots of fun with our group. We break into dancing, at least I do, the music machinery is serious stuff with a valve amp and Warfedale speakers.
Also crushed into the social calendar was the Teulia Festival, we only made it to the Fuatassi (Longboat – traditional oars only this year) Race on the Friday morning.
Apia has had it’s share of ship wrecks and groundings in the last month – first a steel sailing yacht went up on the reef and sank as it was pulled off, then a container ship was up for 6 days(fortunately only the bow was stuck) then a fiberglass tuna boat got confused at night by the container ship aground and ran up on the reef for another total loss.
Road Switch Weekend
Samoa has just changed the side of the road that we drive on. So now we have a left hand drive Hilux and drive on the left, not looking forward to my first night drive(actually survived it) or Hash on Monday evening. So Samoa has just had a 4 day weekend, the schools are closed for the rest of the week, there are only a few buses around as they have to cut new doorways, the police presence is astounding with Red Cross workers on most major intersection, taxis’s are doing a roaring trade and everyone is wearing seatbelts, even taxi drivers – AMAZING !!!!!

So we caught the vehicle ferry to Savaii (The BIG Island) for three nights of rest and recreation, F rested and I did the recreation – double scuba dive with Dive Savaii on their flat bottomed barge. Five divers, four snorkelers and three staff made everyone cozy and enjoying the Juno wreck and coral drop-offs and gardens diving. I night snorkeled twice off the resort beach to a row of stakes for easy navigation – checked out the lighting system and added diffusers. The most unusual thing that I saw was a sea cucumber with it’s rear raised and emitting a white fluid (presumably either – sperm, eggs, or fertilized eggs; it was full moon). It was the only one doing this and on both nights. F got some great moon shots while she waited on the beach at the end of the dive.
F and I also visited the turtles with apple and avocado to feed them as we snorkeled with still and video going flat out. Things I learnt are – a turtle can get confused and try to mount you (this results in a piercing scream) and they can bite your leg (the expletives’ are then deleted as Trick Dicky Nixon once professed). So the stats from the weekend came to 667 files(555 still) and 5.05Gigabyte on the hard-drive after editing. Gotta get better at editing the video – can now do still capture from the HD video – fantastic stuff.
The early slow drive(max 38kph) to the vehicle ferry was wasted as the ferry was not running and a two hour wait was added to the one hour that you get there to queue (luckily we were third and got on the noon barge). We dispensed cold drinks from our esky and picnic set for stranded tourists.
So it was the barge that battered the swell back to Upolu Island with lots of rock and roll, upturned stomachs and video action. We enjoyed another great time on Savaii, love the wide roads, the lack of traffic and potholes and the friendly people.
Lots of small posts as I lost a 20 odd pic load - started again in smaller lots !!!!
All the best from the Pacific - having fun

F and the BIG Cheque

Dancing Group

Not the guy to mess with - BIG Spear

Siva Dancing - DO NOT try this at home

Siva Dancing in blur

More pics - Siva Dancing - Night Dive Sa'moana Resort - Night Snorkel Savaii

Siva Dancing at SPA Awards Night

Bucket-cam prep

Clown fish at night

Sea Cucumber smoking at night

Fins in the rain (Arty Shot)

More Pics - Savaii - Day and Night Snorkel

Rain on the water

Queen Fish

Coral at Night(See following Day Coral)

Me and Bucket-cam

Moon on water - Stevensons Beach in front of our Suite

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Pics - Savaii

Fautassi Race with Traditional Oars (Part of the Teulia Festival) - Digicel Won again (Green Boat nearest from Don Basco College, this year with a male cox/rudder person)

Stranded container ship - Tugs keeping her steady for 6 days towing - Wreck of Fishing Boat just seen on horizon - Fautassi in training

Road Switch - Spinal Board at intersection - INTERESTING First Aid assortment

Mulifanua Wharf Eary Morning

Coitus prolonged

Bus(before change) Catholic Church on Savaii

Sina and the eel - Stevensons Entertainment Stage

Scuba diving with Dive Savaii
You can't see me

Follow the Yellow Fish Road


Light Hole in the reef

Wall of Clowns

Flavai and me

Dive Group on Dive Savaii Barge (Soon to have two new 40HP Outboards)

Juno Wreck and diver

Juno Wreck and fish

Turtle about to eat - Jaws wide open

Electric Anomoine - You can see the electric current arcing

Blue Christmas Tree on a Brain Coral

F's fingers and turtle

Turtle Savaii

Wallowing pig


Spray and we're still inside the reef entrance - portents of waves and spray to come