Day 338, Year 1: Touring the West Side of Upolu
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Weather: Mostly Sunny Day with a Few Sprinkles Here and There
Location: Apia Harbor, Upolu Island, Samoa

Late last evening we decided that we would rent a car for today, Thursday, and Friday, and drive that car to Savai’i via the car ferry. Mark checked with Samoa Shipping to make sure we could book the car in tomorrow with a return on Friday. That was a thumbs up, so he then went to rent the car. As soon as he returned to the boat, we were off for a day tour of the west side of this island. We drove west along the north coast, south down the west coast, and then started working our way back east along the south coast. We forded a stream at one point and drove through some pristine villages where people still live very traditionally. Our first destination was the Return to Paradise Beach where the film by that name starring Gary Cooper was shot in 1951-52. It was a beautiful beach but the coral was very close to shore so swimming was not possible. But Justin found a perfect little pool in the lava rock where we could sit and swim. There were beautiful little blue fish, not many, but it was quite enjoyable. We had the whole beach to ourselves which was great. Our stomachs told us it was time to move on to find some lunch. I had read about a surfer’s resort not far away that served lunch. We found the resort and had our lunch on a delightful deck just off the beach. After lunch, we found a spot to swim and snorkel, but only Justin and I went in the water. We were nearing high tide and the waves were crashing through the reef and making the inner waters a little turbulent. On this beach there were natural black lava rock piers that jutted out into the water. Justin and I entered the water on the left side of one of these piers and then decided to go out and around the pier. Bad move. As soon as I was out of the protection of the natural pier, the current started sweeping me down the beach. Justin was able to help me reach the next black lava rock pier and hold on for dear life. Once I was on the inside of the pier, I was then able to swim to shore. It was a challenging swim/snorkel, but it was fun and the coral I did get to see was beautiful.

We headed for home by going across the Cross Island Road. Once we got back to Windbird we started making preparations for our trip to Savai’i tomorrow. Kathleen from Quantum Leap is going to look after Windbird while we are gone. We made our fale reservations for tomorrow night, and I have worked out a challenging two-day agenda. Savai’i is a big island and there is so much to see and do in just two days. We are booked on the 4 pm ferry back to Upolu on Friday, so we will just do as much as we can in the time we have. It costs $55 Samoan Tala per person to spend the night in a beach fale, but that includes dinner and breakfast. We decided that we could only afford one night, but I have a feeling that once we are there we are going to wish we could longer. We shall see.

There will be no long for Thursday, September 21, as we won’t have internet access, but I will let you know all about our trip when we return on Friday.

060920 Day 338 Samoa–Upolu West Tour
Days 339 and 340, Year 1: Beautiful Savai’i
Day 337, Year 1: Web-site Back Up and Running