After almost two and a half years away during the “Covid Emergency”, touring Savaii has been surprisingly delightful. It feels a lot like when we first visited 13 years ago as freedom cyclists, quiet and friendly with the same white sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons.
The Beach Fales and resorts we use will all be ready to open by 1 August and most of them are already. Below are a few notes and pictures of some of them.
Lauiula Beach Fales
Tailua in Manase
The shifting sands have not been so kind to Tailua and they have suffered from undermining of the fales. But the staff are the same, the welcome is warm and the food is good.
The resort has stayed open and I had a very pleasant night in a Sunset Waterfront Fale. Working on the fale deck in the morning as turtles cruised past and schools of fish were chased around the bay was a very pleasant start.
The hotel seems unchanged but the beach is in good condition wih a deep layer of sand.
Savē greeted me warmly when I arrived and was proud that they were already open. Indeed friends had stayed there and loved it during lockdown.
They were busy refreshing the roof thatching and the place was very tidy. Savē’s husband had attended a tourism cooking course in 2019 and would be back from RSE work to take over in the kitchen.
Lelua and Senara welcomed me back and over a traditional meal of oka (Samoan ceviche), palusami, taro and yellowfin tuna poached in coconut cream described the challenges of surviving with no income for two years.
In preparation for opening all the fales had been cleaned and were looking very tidy.
Unfortunately I had left my mask and snorkel behind so I could not check out the marine reserve. However I received several comments as I travelled that the coral was generally recovering from the bleaching of 2018.
Afu Aau Falls and Florences
The falls were in great shape with extensive planting and new steps cut into the rock.
I caught up with Ruth and Kelvin in Satuiatua where they were running their market stall selling home killed beef, hamburgers and steak BBQ. They said their reputation for fine beef dinners (and good company) had made them a popular spot with the new political leaders. But they were looking forward to the return of cyclists.