Saturday, November 12 (Day 74)
Falealupo – Alofaaga Blowholes - Aganoa Beach Retreat & Rainforest
Another howling storm wakes me during the night and leaves me temporarily disoriented. Where the hell am I? Oh, yeah, I remember – edge of the world, middle of the Pacific Ocean. I’ve no idea what time it is. Maybe it is 2, maybe it is 4, but the realisation that I am horizontal in a hut on an island in the Pacific is causing my head to spin. How can it be possible that I am here, in a part of the world I thought I’d never see nor experience? Am I really experiencing this or is it all a dream? Do I really exist? Why do we exist?
Yep, all those old chestnuts; those questions about reality and existence are rushing around my head as the wind howls, the rain lashes and the waves crash. With a momentary lull in the storm I can hear my own heart beating and it scares me. Sometimes, it just feels like none of this is really happening; that my life isn’t real. I guess that everybody has these kinds of thoughts occasionally but it worries me just how often this stuff occupies my mind. I mean, what is the point of it all, really? Just to be born, grow up, work and make babies? And just so the babies you’ve created end up doing exactly the same thing with their lives? Isn’t that a bit pointless? Futile? Is life just about trying to make the most from the chances we are given? Is the meaning of life the attainment of contentment and happiness for us and our loved ones?
With these thoughts darting around my head, I open my fale at 7am to nip to the communal toilet and the first thing I see is a giant black pig, with twizzled white tusks and eyes that look strangely human, strolling casually past me in the opposite direction. Oink, oink, oink he says. Yes, morning fella
As if to further test my grasp on reality….stood at the local bus stop hoping for transport south it begins to rain on one tree. Literally, it is tipping it down on a single half-a-metre wide banyan tree, whilst the rest of the local foliage is bathed in sunlight. Our resident weather forecaster, Scorchio, says he’s never seen anything like it. I am not sure I would like to predict the weather in Samoa he tells me, the two of us roaring with laughter at this bizarre spectacle.
Talking of futile, Claudia (aka Barbara/Stephanie) and I jump off the local bus at Alofaaga so that we can explore the world famous blowholes located there. Scorchio and Glass Knee have already visited here so they continue on the bus to Aganoa. The chat I’ve read and been told is that this is home to some of the world’s most spectacular blow holes. It is probably four hours since high tide and the calm after yesterday’s storm means that there is very little wind and ocean swell. Consequently, there are no 40-metre blasts of water up into the heavens. The best the elements muster up is probably a 15-metre high ejaculation. Still, not bad. Beats Croydon of a Saturday afternoon.
Aganoa Beach Resort is located within a protected rainforest reserve. This is an absolutely gorgeous secluded spot, only reachable by paying to enter the rainforest reserve and then walking two kilometres down a winding single track road. There’s a wooden deck restaurant and bar built just above the beach and a dozen fale, ringed by the rainforest and the beach. Aganoa is also something of a surfers’ paradise with a long, prominent reef located just 400 metres or so offshore. At high tide, when the swell is strong, the waves are epic, looking like the opening credits for Hawaii Five Oh, for anybody who is old enough to remember that programme. With only two sessions of surfing to my name this place is well out of my league. I genuinely think that there is a good chance I would get myself killed if I tried to join the half dozen experienced surfers staying here and attempted to surf off this reef. With the good weather appearing to return in the late afternoon for the first time in a week, I am more than happy to spend my time here horizontal on its gorgeous beach and hopping in and out of the crystal clear waters, which are full of curious fish and many of the 200 different varieties of coral found in Samoa.
Part of me wishes that I could extend this trip for another three months to take in another half dozen South Pacific states but during the past couple of days I have also been feeling a bit exhausted by the constant battle with mosquitos, cockroaches (I found one five inches long in my bed earlier) and the like. Because of the past seven days’ stormy weather it has been impossible to get clothes dry and half of my rucksack is full with wet or damp t-shirts, pants and shorts that smell like they’ve been living in a Chinese workers’ cellar for a couple of months. The humidity, until today, has been stifling and the stormy weather begins to get you down. As a great improvement on New Zealand and the world of dormitories I do have accommodation to myself these days but, I must admit, clean white sheets devoid of mosquito nets and coconut palm window shutters does appeal. Basically I would love to continue this adventure but I would need to book into a four star for one night, get properly cleaned up, all my clothes washed and ironed and to spend a night in a bed with air con before I could set off on another leg.