Lots of children yelled bye bye, the pigs and dogs roamed freely, everyone smiled and waved and the gardens were well kept and beautiful. It was stunning. We passed some roadside man made pools which looked very inviting. These pools were clear and clean but we weren't quite hot enough to take a dip. Not long after that we saw a beautiful beach so pulled over for a swim and some bread and bananas. We had only just got off our bikes when a lady came over and asked for 4 tala
Apart from the odd downpour of rain and the over zealous rooster we had a reasonably good sleep in our basic beach fale.
Day 3 Vaisala to Satoratua beach fales (57 kms)
The ocean waves were deep blue and crashed along the rough coastline. We rode passed sleepy villages where only the occasional good bye could be heard. The road was hilly and the wind was quite strong in our faces but the remoteness and spectacular views made up for it. Luckily Emma caught sight of the famous sea arch out of the corner of her eye and we stopped there for some biccies and photos. The signage over here is pretty non existent so I guess it's a bonus to be on a bike where you don't miss much. We were pretty happy to roll into the Satoratua beach fales as our bums were a bit tender and the wind has picked up. The large, roomy beach fales (75 tala each including dinner and breakfast) were built under a huge Banyan tree right on the water. We spent the afternoon walking, resting and reading. We were joined for dinner by two Kiwis from Wellington who were living in Apia and had a lovely night chatting about donuts chocolate and shortland Street among other topics !!
Day 4 Satoratua to Le Vasa Hotel (73kms)
Once back at the fales we packed our things, said our goodbyes and set off for Sili via the Alofa Aga blowholes at Cape Auisui.
It was a stunning gravel road along the coast and to the blow holes. The blowholes were spectacular and worth every tala of the 5 tala a person admission fee. It was right on hightide and the blowholes shot around 50 meters into the air. We got soaked when we went up close and peered into the hole the water was spurting out of.
Luckily we have a waterproof camera!
We enjoyed paid 3 tala to a local man and got a coconut straight from his chilli bin. He knocked it's too off and put a straw into the hole - ah, it was so refreshing!
We then headed off for Sili. But it was a day for changing plans. The beauty of traveling by bike is that you have the freedom to change your plans when ever you want. Sili was not on the coast but we had read that it had a lovely garden fale accommodation beside a river. We actually ended up on the opposite side of the river and although there was a ford, we decided to just push on to Saleliloga where the Ferry comes. We would then be able to take the earlier ferry the following day. It didn't seem to take long and we arrived at the only set of traffic lights on the island. It was a short downhill into town from here.
We looked out for a nice seaside fale but there wasn't really anything. Well - it was about 3:55 and the 4 pm ferry looked like our new plan. We rolled into the terminal, paid our 14 tala each plus 10 each for our bikes. We were off to Upolo.
Our circumnavigation of Savaii was done and we couldn't have had a better time. We loved the roads, the people, the heat, the snorkeling, the food, the relaxed way of life!
We enjoyed chatting to some people on the ferry. There was a car of 3 ladies who had stayed at the same beach fales as us in Satuiatua beach. We also saw them at the blow holes. They were so excited to see us and we were both very appreciative of the water and bananas they gave us.We shared our ginger nuts with a girl from Tauranga who had come over to Samoa to bury her husband who had committed suicide. She was great to talk to and pretty philosophical about life. You get one and you need to do what makes you happy. Once off the ferry we hightailed it back to LeVasa resort and checked back into our same room. Ah home sweet home. After a shower and a short swim in the pool we headed to the restaurant for spicy fish and a glass of wine. Happy happy. The people we caught the airport transfer with sat next to us and we had a lovely conversation about where we had been and were going. They were heading to Savaii the next day so we gave them some tips.
Day 5 - LeVasa resort to Vaiala Beach fales (68kms)
On the way down the road turned to gravel and wound down passed small settlements, plantations and over a reasonable ford. The rain started... It got heavier and heavier and we decided to take refuge in a small shop front. Luckily we did as it bucketed down! 5 mins later we were back on our bikes and drying off.
We arrived at the Giant Clam conservation area and a very friendly lady met us and told us a bit about them. We paid her 10 tale each to be able to swim in the reserve and she informed us we could get a toasted sandwich afterwards. That sounded pretty good to us!
We were in the water until our fingers were wrinkley and numb. It was amazing and one of the more incredible things we've seen since being in Samoa. They have a breeding program going on so we could see the different sized clams. We were also lucky enough to see a turtle. It was just cruising around and wasn't shy at all. We got some great footage with our underwater camera and gopro.
The sandwich was equally as good, even after the 45 minute wait. We just ordered one sandwich for 25 tala and we got served up a plate of 8 quarters if toasted sandwich made lovingly with onion, greenery, cheese and tuna. It also came with a huge plunger of coffee and a plate of chopped papaya. Yum. Just what we needed!
That plate of food fueled use all the way to Vaiala beach fales (47km) They were so authentic but then had old NZ billboard canvas's around the sides. Mitre10, the NZ bachelor, wotif, pop up globe Auckland. A young girl came and set up our fale while we went for a walk along the beautiful white sandy beach. Everything we needed- woven mat, mattress and mosquito net. It even had a light! We had a cold shower and washed our cycling gear before having a lie down before dinner. It really is something else to be cycle touring and not have to shop and cook.
We went to sleep to the sound of the waves hitting the reef, Cicadas and the odd gecko, not a bad a way to unwind and relax.
Rain rain and more rain was what we were served up all night. We also had a noisy hightide around midnight.
We got up at 8.30am and headed out for a snorkel before breakfast. There wasn't much to see and the water was on the chilly side so we didn't stay in for long. Breakfast was toast, bread, boiled eggs and papaya. After breakfast Emma treated the lady running the place as she had been complaining about her knees. We then set off to ride the 15km to the trench
What a beautiful place the Te Sua trench was. Huge manicured gardens and views over the rocky shore line and reef. On a fine day it would have been perfect to just sit up there and whale watch it eat a picnic lunch. Our day however was not sunny and in fact extremely wet and even slightly cold. It didn't stop us from enjoying the experience of the Trench which was truly magnificent.
We continued on our merry way with beaming grins and soaking wet skins. For the first time in our trip we were not wet from sweat!
Approaching the end of the southern coast the landscape changed dramatically. The road travelled beneath a huge cliff and right beside the coast. We noticed tsunami evacuation trails zig zaging up the bushy cliff face.
In the teaming rain we pulled up at our planned accommodation. The lady in charge took pity on us and handed us a nice fluffy dry towel! We had to wait quite a while for our room to be prepared but there were plenty of interested people- mostly Kiwis to talk to. They all thought we were mad but all sounded very impressed with our journey so far.
The Taufua beach fales with its large restaurant and bar was very busy and we felt s but overwhelmed by the crowds initially but really enjoyed the interaction and buffet style eating in long benches. Everyone introduced themselves and we're really great to chat to. We had a few hours lying in our fale just reading and reflecting on our trip so far.
It didn't talk long for Emma to be asked to look at a lady Pauline's knee. She had recently had a total knee joint replacement and was struggling with regaining her range of motion. After a 45 minutes consult and treatment we were rewarded by a couple of glasses of wine and she was feeling and walking a lot better.
We all sat along long trestle tables and food was bought out in quick succession. Pizza, chicken curry, green salad, prawns, spaghetti, spring rolls, mashed potatoes, rice, oranges. It really was a bit much but ideal for two hungry cyclists! We even got to try Taro - we had been seeing it growing in the fields almost everywhere.
What a day... It was Samoa heat again and boy were we sweating. We had a tail wind most of the day but that also meant we didn't really cool off. We stopped and bought a deep fried bun from a little boy. Yum, it was still warm and it was great. He was very pleased when we have him a lolly as well his money. Riding along the coast, Debbie suddenly yelled out to stop. Whale! Just over the reef was a humpback whale cruising along and spraying out his blowhole. We watched his tail disappear as he dived down into the depths - we felt pretty lucky have seen this. Several Kms down the road we stopped at a little shop for a Sprite and with our change bought a cream donut! Wow. What a treat! We also stopped for a coconut drink and Emma gave the little boy a ride on her bike - he loved it!
Next stop was Matareva. We paid 3 tala each to enter the private road and bounced our way down the sandy corally drive. This was our final night in Samoa and it felt like paradise. The sky was blue, the ocean was incredibly clear and we could see the coral reef beneath. Matareva has a wonderful white sandy beach and coconut trees tower above the road. We were very relieved when we scored the last cabin which had its own ensuit and two fans! It was 200 tala for the room which included dinner and breakfast. We enjoyed s snorkel and a good walk around the large grounds. We decided out if all of the places we've stayed in Samoa, this is the place we could stay more than one night. There is a lot to do here and more opportunities to explore the coastline.
It was great to be inside a room with an ensuite but boy was it hot hot hot. We fell asleep to the sound of the fans.
Once again we woke up to sunshine and breakfast. After breakfast we had a snorkel, a rest in the hammocks, another snorkel then reluctantly packed our things and headed back to the big clams for another sandwich and coffee. (8.2km)
After lunch and a pretty decent snorkel at the giant clams we cycled the final 21kms back to Le Vasa resort. We then packed our bikes back into their boxes, had a delicious fish meal and a Pina colada before being picked up by a taxi and taken to the airport.
What an awesome holiday. Samoa is the perfect cycling destination - lots of accommodation options, great roads, friendly people, few cars and a speed limit of 45 km an hour, beautiful beaches, breakfast and dinner included in most accommodation bookings, well priced, lots of sun and warmth. We will be back.
Nappy rash cream
Shampoo and conditioner
Toothpaste and toothbrush
Snorkel and mask. Fins or booties
Rash vest for sun protection
Cool clothes for riding
Sun visor on helmet
Cool evening clothing
Clothesline and pegs
Waterproof panniers or dry bag
Spare tubes, repair kit, pump, chain break, bike lube, fully serviced bike
Water bottles - minimum two each
Steripen or purification
EFTPOS card - ANZ ATMs throughout
A good lightweight book
Chargers - same plug as in NZ
Map of the islands - things not well signposted