Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well the New Year is nearly here – I have been FLAT OUT doing things – a quick AUS trip – some more pics and video to add to the Archives of Samoa – lots of socializing with the festive times.
I have had a good time cooking wise, preparing only a few meals in the last month.
Have we eaten good – YUM TUM !!! I can actually cook if need-be and had Rack of Lamb the other night – so I have the potential but it has been seldom seen. I have also been cooking Apple Pies, that have gone done well at parties with ice-cream.

This post covers the last couple of months – we arrived back post tsunami (the Tongan Trench earthquake), as life was just getting back to normal after some very stressful and hectic weeks for the humanitarian aid organizations. Purified bottled water was actually shipped in as all our suppliers were taxed by the disaster on the south and especially the south east corner of the island.
With all stressful events the survivors had tales to tell of tragedy and luck in their survival. For weeks later they just had to talk out their experiences and memories – I just listened to amazing escapes and tales of life’s chances. The sheer luck involved was just a matter of sometimes less than a meter to scramble and run. The first wave was 14 meters high, with usually two slightly smaller following. Wave does not actually describe a tsunami as there is no back to the slug of water, the ocean just moves up and flows over the land until it equalizes, flows back to the sea and repeats the process. Some people were washed inland, out past the reef and somehow survived the three slugs of water. Surviving the tsunami was a miracle in itself, the next was the lung infections from water and debris ingestion to say nothing of the wounds. Two things stand out from the stories – a NZ primary school girl alerted tourists that a tsunami was coming when the reef drained, saving many lives at Lalomanu. (She had been taught this at school.) Another Resort had a siren that saved dozens of tourists along another stretch of coast.
Samoa is recovering and the main tourist resorts are re-opening around the end of March with new buildings and refurbishments. The last tsunami from the Tongan Trench was in 1917, Hilo in Hawaii was 1946 and the Chilean tsunami (Largest underwater earthquake recorded) was 1960. So they are infrequent but you are mindful now of higher ground when on the beach.

I have become a bit of a video person with my HD Camcorder (with a Fluid Head Manfrotto tripod) and have given lots of DVD’s away, things that I have done are:
Judo World Cup Opening Ceremony – very specky mass dance from a local college,
A 40 Birthday Party – great Margaritas,
A building Opening with all the VIP’s
A Graduation Ceremony for 52 students – great food
A local Primary School’s Prize Giving day – hot sauna day (24 DVD’s)
I was fourth video camera for a local Variety Show and gave the production company 19 minutes of crowd reaction – so I can say that my video has been broadcast on TV (if only flash clips), it was a great night and meal at a local nightclub to boot.
The Blessing of the Samoan Va’atele (Double sailing canoe – 73 Feet), also the preparation for a short doco.
A family Christmas dinner and gift giving. (6 DVD’s)
Two HASH runs and after- parties.
Resort Christmas Lunch and Santa arriving on a Surfboard towed by a jet-ski.
Some underwater day and night snorkels.
A recent trip to Savaii, the blowholes were going OFFfffffffff.
Or should I say UPppppppp.
This time they were full coconuts the Martai was throwing down the vent!!!!!!!

The digital still collection has not been neglected as we hope to pass the 20 thousand mark by the New Year. At 13.6 or 12 MP it soon fills a hard-drive to say nothing of the HD Video and everything is backed-up to DVD each month.

November was just a blur to say nothing of December as I wrote a story of a two year odyssey from my ancient past. This has been refined and expanded and is now ready for the printer. The usual round of Christmas festivities started and I got to talk to diplomats from several nations at one social occasion. The Chamber of Commerce party was an interesting affair as I moved around several tables to talk to people I knew, then drove to the airport, had a nap on the back seat and waited for F to come through from Customs just past midnight.

We have had our third lot of visitors from AUS this week, with F’s daughter and partner over for Christmas. We took them to the highlights of Samoa – two nights at Savaii ; blowholes, swimming under waterfalls, feeding the turtles, snorkeling; and Christmas at Sa’moana Resort where we were part of a lunch for over 50 guests. Excellent food was served with hermit crab races at night for entertainment. The moral is if you get to pick, go for the small ones, number 22 won three times in a row and we kept making the circle bigger as a handicap. We lost 10 tala on our two “nag” crabs. No animals were harmed during or after the racing although a human handler was bitten at the starting gate drawing blood from one finger.
I also took the kids snorkeling at Palalo Deep in Apia with a huge surf running and strong currents. Being the gentleman I am, I also escorted two fair maidens on a snorkel tour and safely saw them to shore. Gee it’s hard to be humble with bikinis around !!!! And this was after showing three young ladies the Clown Fish at Sa’moana and swapping masks with one of them.
Gotta love the South Pacific.

I also got to attend the headstone dedication for Shafter (our ex-Monk and GM) from Apia HASH. I had helped build his crypt last November and afterwards we retired to his favourite drinking-hole for refreshments and nibbles. Hash again staged the Christmas Carols run behind the Fire Engine in fine weather this year. So the video is pretty good and I edited it to 70 minutes to get it onto a 4.7GB DVD at Standard Definition. F took 300 digital stills.
Lots and lots of copies to burn.

So as the EVE of a new year starts tonight and we get ours tomorrow – we look forward to Twenty Ten and all the excitement it will bring. EUROPE is high on our agenda.
2009 will stand out as a LIFE Changing year for me.
May there be many more years of health for us ALL.
To 2010 with a vengeance for a full life of good experiences and love.

I will post some pics in the New Year as we MAXED out our 500mb on the 7th of December.
Cheers from the Pacific

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