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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Oct-Nov
20 | www.probussouthpacific.org Visitors can pull off the road and wander around on the lava. It’s a 30-minute walk across the lava to the coast, but within only a few hundred metres the remnants of a church – now half full of lava and without a roof – can still be visited, as can a site called the virgin’s grave. Debate rages about the truth of the story of the grave. One side argues that the gap in the lava was created when the lava flow diverted around the grave of a virgin, visible at the bottom of a two-metre deep hole in the lava. The other side of the story, predictably, says that either the hole was made in the lava on purpose to attract tourists or that the lava simply caved in at that place some time over the past 100 years. Close encounters Animal lovers will find plenty to keep themselves occupied on Savai’i. There are dogs everywhere (although patting them isn't advised), horses out the front of many fale and several villages offer tourists the chance to swim with and feed turtles. We pull up at a small village and pay a fee, and three of my group jump into the lagoon, clutching papaya pieces. Before long, several large turtles surround us, fins and heads bumping our legs as they rush for the papaya. We hold out pieces of the fruit above the water and the turtles surface to snatch it. When the turtles relax, a few are picked up and held high for photos, fins flapping against the air. It’s amazing to see, and so exciting to feel the slimy shells of the turtles, but we later consider the wellbeing of the animals. It seems indulgent to remove an animal from its natural habitat so that a few tourists can experience the thrill of patting it. Talking to a few locals, I am told another side of the argument: the fees paid by tourists for this experience may be the only financial support for the village. Into the sea Further around the coast, we make a pit stop to pick up a few bottles of the local brew, Vailima, and slip gratefully into the sea at Manase. None of the clichés live up to the reality of Manase: I step out of a fale and onto the sand of an empty beach with nothing but trees, sand and ocean in sight, and float about in the warm, clear water marvelling at the cooler water seeping out of the sand. Reluctantly, I drag myself out of the ocean and step up the beach for an outdoor shower in the private garden behind my fale. The village amenities may not be to everyone’s taste, but those who 'get it' will never want to leave. •• All is still and the lava, which looks rock- hard, is slippery and almost spongy underfoot, with trees and shrubs fighting their way through the cracks. Jump aboard: Samoa Shipping Corporation runs three ferries between Upolu, the main island, and Savai’i , the less populated island. The Lady Samoa III is the newest and biggest of the fleet, and offers a business class lounge and a journey time of approximately one hour. Sample the local brew: Of course, the resorts and large hotels stock many Australian and international beers, but the local brew is well worth a taste. Vailima is brewed using Hallertau hops and its crisp, refreshing taste is best when served very chilled. Suds up: Mailelani soaps are made locally from virgin coconut oil and fragrances made from local plants. Drop by for a chat with Sylvie and Kitione Salanoa about their handmade soaps, see them being made and stop at the shop on the way out for a heavenly gift. Love the lava: Along the coast, the lava fields turn into lava cliffs, with blowholes and spectacular scenery. Search out the local who drops coconuts into the blowhole at just the right time... and stand back! TRAVEL GUIDE RIn the old church, half filled with lava, greenery is taking over. QCoastal lava fields create spectacular scenes. TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL
Active Retirees Aug-Sept
Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2012