Day 23 Jan 26 (Samoa)

13º 49.56' S and 171º 45.75' W

On the dock by 8:30 to catch a cab to the dive shop. Turns out it was on the other side fo the island. An interesting drive through the countryside. The trash is placed on raised platforms to keep it out of reach of the dogs which roam pretty freely. They aren't wild, just not penned up or on a leash. Oh, we passed a McDonalds in downtown Apia (the capitol of Somoa). First one I've seen since we left Ft Lauderdale. The dive shop is named Liquid Motion Ltd. and is located at Siumu, Sinalei Resort. The resort has a bar called Uncle Harry's. Great name!

When we arrived at the hotel the concierge asked what the cabby charged us and was not happy. This country is one of the most honest around I think. The cabbie returned to pick us up after we were done and I think the concierge had a talk with him. He offered to take us on several sightseeing side "trips" on the way back for no extra charge. Another one of our shipmates was telling me that he tried to buy some postcards at one store and the proprietor didn't know what the exchange rate for US dollars was and refused to sell the cards for fear of charging too much! The vendors who set up tents on the dock are a bit unusual too. They don't try to high pressure you to buy their stuff. I may have to come back here in the future to spend a bit more time. Nice people.

So, we report to our dive master (perhaps I should say dive mistress - hmmm....) Her name was Vanessa. Definitely the best looking dive master we've had so far. Vanessa wasn't optimistic about dive conditions. There had been a LOT of rain the day before and today was drizzling. The other tourists found the rain a worry but we knew we were going to get wet anyway so we hadn't worried about the rain until she said we might not be able to dive. She offered to take us to the first dive site but abort if the visibility was too poor. She thought it might only be about 2 feet!

Well, we lucked out. The silt and other murk producing particulates had pretty much settled down by the time we hit the water. We had a great dive - saw a sea turtle, some fish and lots of coral. Very nice. I am still using air too fast. I was almost out at 30 minutes. I went to the boat while the others dived for another half-hour. It was a fairly deep dive. 70 feet for the first part and then 55-60 feet for the second half. The second dive was not quite so deep. Maximum of 58 feet but much was between 30 and 40 feet. We were shown a type of coral that even Scott had never seen. It is called Ghost Coral and is brown in color until you touch it and it changes color to white. The chameleon of coral! Cool! We also swam through a short tunnel of coral. Scott, who was making his 5000th dive, was ahead of me and accidentally kicked a small piece of coral loose. I'm pretty sure I made it through clean. Hah! I may not be able to stay down for days on an hour of air but I can control my buoyancy pretty well. Well, most of the time.

After the second dive our dive mistress (heh, heh - I do like the sound of that) bought us drinks at the hotel bar. That's a first. They also had food and drink on the boat after each dive. Pretty nice. Coconut, pineapple, cookies and water. I am so getting used to being spoiled!

As I said the cab ride back to the ship had a few detours. We stopped at Papapapaiti Falls, (my spell check is going crazy right now!). A nice waterfall near the road we were traveling. Some things are the same worldwide I guess. I think we disturbed a young couple who had parked where they could view the falls (or perhaps just listen to it?). We didn't stay long. Just snapped a few pictures and left. We passed by the Baha'i Temple (one of only six in the world!) and the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (his final home and where he is buried). You have read at least one of his books! Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He was a Scottsman who came here and fell in love with this part of the world like so many Europeans did. We also passed Aggie Grey's. This is a hotel. Remember Bloody Mary? Well, the character in South Pacific was actually patterned after a woman from Samoa named Aggie Grey. James Michner said he took the good qualities of Aggie Grey and put them into Bloody Mary's character. He was on Pago Pago and hated it so whenever he could he came to Samoa. Aggie had purchased an old run down hotel and made an American style hamburger stand in it. Michner apparently spent much time there and immortalized Aggie. She passed away in 1989 but her hotel lives on much unchanged.

Our ship sailed at 6 PM while we were eating dinner. Six of our 8 tablemates watched the movie tonight. It was Boynton Beach Bereavement Club. Cute and pretty appropriate for this age group.

Wow! It is almost 11:30 PM here. I'll send this tonight so you are caught up in real time. Well except for the six hours time difference. Oh, and we cross the International dateline tonight so we will skip Sunday! I'm writing this at 11:30 PM Saturday and when I wake up it will be Monday! If you understand that please explain it to me. Perhaps it will make more sense in the morning. We got another certificate like the one we got crossing the Equator. I'll spare you the quote.

Gotta go. Enjoy Sunday for me please!

No comments: