30 NOVEMBER 2011
Samoa - Home Of Giant Fish and Fishing Giants
The eyes of the world will be on the waters of Samoa in April 2012 when up to 140 of the world’s best anglers converge in its deep blue waters for the Samoa International Game Fishing Tournament.
Usually held on the first week of April, the tournament is becoming one of the most popular sport fishing events of the piscatorial year.
In November, a blue marlin weighing in at a staggering 511.5 lbs was caught off the waters of Samoa by the M/V Southern Destiny. This is a record breaking catch according to the Samoa Game Fishing Association who weighed the fish on a certified scale.
While that latest catch broke all other records in the country, reeling in catches of about 350 lbs are not uncommon in Samoa. Sheltered from big game or sports fishing vessels, the waters are teeming with marine life, and this part of the Pacific making it an angler’s marine playground.
The competition goes for the whole week and starts off with an early breakfast for the anglers before they set out to tackle the waters off Apia harbor.
The anglers then take off from Matautu before returning to weigh in their catch each day at Apia Marina. Daily prizes are awarded.
While the tournament is open to all, a special ladies tournament is held for part of the event.
The competition has traditionally attracted major vessels from within the region including Australia, New Zealand and American Samoa – all vying for the top angling fishing trophy.
“The Samoans have a special relationship with the sea. Their traditional values and Fa’a Samoa entails that they protect their ocean heritage and maintain its pristine state,” says Peter Sereno of Samoa Tourism Authority.
“The Tournament will be bigger in 2012 and we are expecting a record number of participants reeling in record breaking catches. We hope to see you all there to join in on the celebrations,” says Peter.
Click here for more information.
25 NOVEMBER 2011
Samoa celebrates South Pacific beauties
Samoa will be celebrating the best of the South Pacific from December 4 until the 10th as it hosts the Pure Pacifika Miss South Pacific Pageant 2011.
Returning back to its home, the pageant was an initiative by the Government of Samoa 25 years ago.
Nine of the region’s most beautiful and talented women will fly to Samoa and compete for this coveted title which celebrates the attributes, intelligence, culture, talents and regional traditions of young Pacific Island women. The theme for this year’s pageant is ‘Celebration of the South Pacific’.
After a week of rehearsals, parades, cultural demonstrations, public appearances and media interviews, Joyana Meyer of the Cook Islands was crowned Miss South Pacific in Papua New Guinea last year. Miss Aotearoa New Zealand and Miss Samoa finished 2nd and 3rd. Joyana will be handing her crown to a new winner in December.
All contestants are deep in preparations and have their eye firmly fixed on the prize, determined to be the 25th Miss South Pacific titleholder.
The nations of American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tokelau, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Samoa will be represented.
The 25th edition of the Miss South Pacific Pageant is presented by Pure Pacifika and the Government of Samoa and will be held in Apia during the week starting December 4 and culminating in the finals show on December 10.
For more information, go to www.misssouthpacificpageant.ws
22 NOVEMBER 2011
UK agents treated to South Pacific spectacle
Samoa Tourism Authority's UK office continued its tour of the UK last week and visited Glasgow in Scotland.
Samoa Tourism was joined by travel agents from companies such as STA Travel, Trailfinders and Travel 2 for a night at the Theatre Royal to watch the musical the South Pacific starring UK celebrities Samantha Womack and Alex Ferns.
Samoa Tourism Authority is one of the main sponsors of the musical which started at the Barbican Theatre in London and is now touring the UK until July 2012.
14 NOVEMBER 2011
Samoa’s biggest catch!
By Charlina Tone
The M/V Southern Destiny caught a record sized fish on Wednesday 9 November. It was a blue marlin that weighed in at a staggering 511.5 lbs.
The Samoa International Game Fishing Association announced this after the catch was weighed on a certified scale that it was the new Samoan all tackle record for Blue Marlin.
Captain Chris Donato said it was a proud moment for the crew of the Southern Destiny.
“This is the biggest fish caught in Samoa, and we are all very proud,” he said.
Mr Donato explained that it was just another normal fishing trip that got lucky.
“The charter the day before had caught a fish that weighed about 350 lbs so we were chartered again to see if we could catch another one.”
The boat came out lucky the second time round when it reeled in the massive fish.He said it took the crew about 20 minutes to lure in the catch and it was a struggle.
The other crew members were Mate Alek Loudakis and Pelenato.
The charter that day was (for) a group from Australia and Mr Donato said the angler did an amazing job catching the fish. “It did some amazing jumps and fought hard but with very aggressive boat handling and heavy drags we managed to bring it in.”
Mr Donato who has been fishing all his life said it was good publicity for his boat. “As a captain you have to make some crucial decisions and dictate what should be done but it was really a team effort.”
Source: Samoa Observer
08 NOVEMBER 2011
Samoa Celebrates the Reopening of Seabreeze Resort
As Samoa commemorates Celebrate Samoa Year, the nation welcomes back one of its treasures, Seabreeze Resort Samoa.
One of the resorts devastated by the 2009 tsunami that ravaged the south coast of Upolu, Seabreeze Resort Samoa has now re-opened its doors with a new look and a new lease on life.
Situated on the South East coast of Upolu, nestled in a small sandy bay directly on the beach, this stunning new resort is designed for couples on that totally romantic vacation that require the ultimate in Samoan boutique luxury.
With all 12bungalows set amongst stunning tropical gardens and offering amazing vistas of the Pacific, this beachfront resort offers a memorable stay and is the perfect setting for an intimate beach or tropical garden wedding. The boutique resort can also be booked out for wedding parties keeping your family and friends close for your special day.
Guests will be greeted by a grand entrance featuringsix carved storyboards using traditional Samoan designs depicting the story of the bay and the hopes and dreams of the villagers and the resort for the future.
Wendy Booth, Director of Seabreeze Resort reports that “we are in the final stages of completion and we see everything to be completed by March 2012. Most of the current work is low key with minimal disruptions to our guests.
“The pool bar is proving popular with an amazing array of fruity cocktails but the real feature is our bar man Lua who not only mixes amazing drinks but also entertains with a yarn or two about life, culture and customs in Samoa.”
The rebuilt restaurant stands 50% bigger than its original incarnation featuring a Pizzeria where wood fired pizzas will be available on the weekends.
The jewel in the crown of Seabreeze Resort is the stunning Honeymoon Villa. A villa with stunning views of the Pacific, it is set into the cliffs on a rock buttress right above the ocean and boasts the best views of the resort, the bay and coastline. Set away from the rest of the villas and bungalows and with its own private courtyard the Honeymoon Villa offers exclusivity and 100% privacy.
Peter Sereno of Samoa Tourism Authority believes that Seabreeze has a fantastic offering for the discerning boutique traveller.
“This year is a year of celebrations and we celebrate the return of Seabreeze Resort. Seabreeze Resort celebrates the beauty of Samoa. We have absolutely no doubt that Seabreeze will prove popular with many repeat visitors. We wish them the best of luck and success” says Peter.
Please refer to www.samoa.travel and www.seabreezesamoa.com for more information.
05 NOVEMBER 2011
Shoreline Village Opens
By Charlina Tone
Samoa's newest tourist attraction officially opened on the Apia Marina waterfront, has officially opened.
Shoreline Village is a locally designed complex that dons everything from bars and restaurants to a money transfer company.
Project Managing Director, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo said the $750,000 project caters for the tourism industry. “Several companies were asked by the Samoa Ports Authority (SPA) to submit investment proposals and we were selected,” said Fonotoe.
The main criteria being that the development must cater to tourists especially cruise ship passengers.
The project encompasses three spacious bar and restaurant facilities, two over –the-water decks and nine business spaces for businesses hoping to set up there.
Contractor Muliagatele William Caffarelli, of VW Construction, said the project took almost seven months to complete.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said such developments are needed to stimulate the tourism industry. “It is important to encourage this kind of promotion and development particularly to beautify our water frontage so that it will create a peaceful environment for tourists to get together and admire the sunset,” said Tuilaepa. The Prime Minister congratulated his Deputy, Fonotoe and everyone who contributed to making Shoreline Village a reality.
There might be a second phase to the project, depending on how well this initial development goes Fonotoe said they are looking at possible accommodation units, but that might be further down the line. There is also the option of building upwards.
“In saying that, we are also looking around for other properties in the vicinity.”
Members of the business community, friends and relatives of those operating businesses in the new complex witnessed the official opening.
Source: Samoa Observer
01 NOVEMBER 2011
Paradise in last place on Earth
by Shirley Sinclair
"PARADISE in heaven." Those three words swirl around my head in the darkness.
I'd seen them a day earlier in big letters on the side of a bus.
We'd been told to look out for the wildly painted village buses and, almost on cue, as our van drove up the vehicular ferry ramp on to the island, one pulled away from the kerb.
But the message it left in its dust - "Paradise in heaven" - didn't make any sense. Surely this is either paradise or heaven.
Make up your mind!
But now I understand as I lie awake on a surprisingly comfortable mattress on the floor of the humble Samoan fale hut.
High tide in the lagoon creates a soothing lullaby of gentle waves lapping the white sand below.
A mosquito net flies overhead in the cool breeze like a ghostly presence.
I'm too exhausted to get up and tuck the net in, and dropping the banana-frond woven blinds is not an option as I stare into the cloudless, midnight blue sky at the Southern Cross and a zillion other brilliant stars.
Paradise in heaven.
I contemplate the snorkelling after breakfast around the dark patches of purple-tipped staghorn coral barely 20m from shore in the turquoise lagoon that is the front "yard" of the Lauiula Fales.
And I replay in my mind the glorious day we have spent here on Savaii ("Big Island") which is the largest of 10 islands of Samoa.
Apolima Strait separates Savaii from the main island of Upolu, 18km to the south-east.
But Savaii remains largely uninhabited and untouched.
It has only two-fifths the population of the Upolu, where the capital Apia lies, despite being one-and-a-half times the size.
Surfers and backpackers uncovered Savaii's charms long ago but more accommodation options in recent times have encouraged other travellers to discover a part of the South Pacific that remains true to itself.
Savaii moves to the beat of its own drum. Villagers live life at an easy pace, as they have for 3000 years.
The island - known as "the soul of Samoa" - is so laidback that other Samoans come here to chill out, lobbing on the fale doorstep of relatives and friends.
Savaiians are naturally hospitable and extremely proud of their cultural and natural heritage. But while they are keen to share that with the outside world, the tourist dollar hasn't changed them.
From the Siufaga Beach Resort bungalows in the south-east where we spend our first night, we become a little better acquainted with the island on a walk before breakfast in the sunshine along Savaii's one main road which hugs the coastline.
This pleasant introduction to Savaii is the warm-up to a day of sightseeing.Circumnavigating the island takes a leisurely six hours in a car, covering 336km and many scenic spots.
We head out in a clockwise direction and our first stop is the two-storey Savaii Markets.
Souvenirs from polished kava bowls and colourful lavalavas to Samoan rugby T-shirts and hand-made jewellery, traditional fans and coconut knick-knacks are available at good prices.
And if you're feeling peckish, Samoan-style pineapple turnovers, baked chicken bread rolls and an array of tropical fruits are sure to please. Armed with our lunch staples, our next stop makes a real splash with the group.
Dramatic Afu Aau waterfall plunges from the rainforest into a cool natural waterhole - a green oasis sheltered by tree ferns, moss, and jungle vegetation.
Some brave souls dive from the surrounding cliff into the depths.
The clear turquoise waters near the shallow rim glow in the sunlight streaming through the foliage, and the cascading showers are powerful despite so little rain of late.
Paradise in heaven.
Alofaaga blowhole is our next destination but we stop the van short of the entrance as a picture-perfect stand of tall, thin coconut palms against a majestic blue sky scream out to be photographed.
The area boasts about eight holes in the rock where seawater can spurt up to 60m in the air.
The villagers' favourite party trick is to place coconuts over the blowholes and see them "fly".
The picnic lunch staples come out here under the sprawling trees, with Mother Nature providing the free entertainment.
A little further on, the road is flanked by coconut groves offering glimpses of deserted white sand beaches popular for picnics and romantic sojourns.
This is the most western point of the archipelago - a spiritual area for Samoans.
As the last place on Earth the sun sets each day, Savaiians once launched their dead in canoes here to float off into the great beyond, where their spirits were consumed by the sacred whirlpool called Fafa O Saualii.
But we rush past, and just as well: the next stop will rate as the group's favourite of the road trip.
At the Falealupo Beach Fales, a friendly game of kirikiti or cricket, Samoan-style, is taking place this sleepy afternoon in the heat.
While curious to understand the differences between kirikiti and the traditional game, our jaws drop when we see the vibrant colours of the main attraction.
The stark white sand is undeniable but is the lagoon a gorgeous azure, teal, turquoise or aqua?
And is the sea beyond the necklace of white crashing waves a glorious cobalt, steel blue or cerulean?
No matter. We peel off the layers to our swimsuits and wade into the cool waters to loll in the shallows or snorkel the lagoon's coral wonders. We are the only ones on the beach.
Paradise in heaven.
Too soon, we are off again on our magical mystery tour - this time to test our nerve at the Falealupo Canopy Walk.
We climb up the steel staircase to the top of the tower for a stunning perspective on the rainforest storeys and canopy.
Then we each take a leap of faith, literally walking the planks laid end to end across the suspension bridge to the "cubby house" in a massive banyan tree.
Next stop is the Saleaula lava fields - once a black moonscape but now green with new tree growth. When the Mt Matavanu volcano erupted from 1905 to 1911, molten lava destroyed everything in its path over 100 sq km on the central north coast.
Ribbon lava flowed right through the front door of a church, which now lays in ruins a short walk from the carpark. But the nearby burial place of a nun was spared as the lava mysteriously flowed around what has become known as "the Virgin's grave".
Now we are on a tight schedule as turtles await.
The Satoalepai Wetlands is where visitors can swim with green turtles in a part-freshwater, part-saltwater pool.
The majestic creatures - some weighing up to 185kg - were hunted for many years and became endangered. Villagers have provided the turtles with a sanctuary before being released into the ocean to prepare for parenthood.
The inquisitive turtles prove a little too friendly when one mistakes my orange underwater camera for a piece of papaya and nips my leg instead.
But all is soon forgiven as we head for our final stop: Le Lagoto Resort in Fagamalo village for sunset drinks.
Samoa has always been "a day behind" Australia and Fiji, on the other side of the International Dateline. But that changes on December 29 this year when the dateline is redrawn and Samoa falls into line with its closest business and trade partners.
Then Samoa's sunsets will be the first in the world each day.
This afternoon, we are serenaded by Samoan singer-guitarists while we sip frozen margaritas, and become drunk on the colours of the sky as day morphs into night. The cameras come out of the handbags one last time as the sun drops ever lower on its march towards the horizon.
The red and orange glow slowly disappears, leaving behind a spectacular palette of pinks, blues and purples on the clouds in the fading light.
Paradise in heaven. Indeed.
The writer was a guest of Samoa Tourism Authority.
Three airlines fly to Samoa weekly out of Brisbane and Sydney: Air Pacific, Air New Zealand and Polynesian Blue. See your travel agent for details.