Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa Samoa are proud to announce the return of the overwater fale.
Considered the jewel of the resort’s crown, Coconuts was the only property in the South Coast of Upolu to offer this ultimate in luxury accommodation, overlooking the beautiful turquoise waters of the South Pacific.
The original overwater fales were destroyed by the tsunami of 2009.
Designs of the six bigger and better fales have been approved and construction is expected to begin September 1 with a completion date of December 31, 2012 in time to greet the new year.
Richard Skewes from Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa says that the construction of the overwater fales is the final and perhaps most exciting chapter of the Coconuts rebuild.
“These new fales will be bigger and better than the originals. We expect to complete all six fales over a four month period with our in-house guests comfort in mind. Most of the construction work will be done off-site with little to no impact on in-house guests.”
“However, as you would expect, the raising of the fales to their new apartment homes will involve quite a bit of work but the results will definitely be worth it. We will be offering some amazing stay/pay and resort credit specials during the building process,” says Richard.
Samoa Tourism Authority says the time is perfect for the return of the overwater fale offering to Samoa.
“With tourist numbers to Samoa increasing we are excited to have the overwater fales back,” says Samoa Tourism Authority.
“The waters of Samoa is one of our treasures and nothing beats sleeping over the gentle waters of the South Pacific and the billion stars of the Milky Way above you,” says STA.
Thanks to inbound growth and the rise of interisland travel within Samoa, domestic air services have re-launched and will now be serviced by Samoa Air – Samoa’s official National Carrier.
100% locally owned and operated, Samoa Air operates a fleet of BN2A Islanders – one of the best selling commercial aircraft produced in Europe and is known for its STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) which is ideal for the Samoan air strips.
A route once served only by ferries, Samoa Air will have 5 return daily services between the Upolu and Savaii and will operate out of the re-opened air strips of Fagalii on Upolu and Maota and Asau in Savai’i.
The newly re-opened domestic air strips offers a convenient option for travelers who are located on different parts of the island.
Fagalii Airport (FGI) is located approximately 5km South-East of Apia, Maota Airport (MXS) on the island of Savai’i, is a 10 minute drive from the business hub of Salelologa, while Asau Airport (AAU) is located on the North Western side of Savaii, allowing passengers to avoid the 3 hour carriage time if travelling from the wharf.
Samoa Air will also have facilities to provide charter flights.
“We are very excited to be offering our people and our guests this new travel option – encouraging greater travel between the islands and allowing visitors to our country the option to see more of the Treasured Islands,” says the Samoa Tourism Authority.
The airline will also service flights to destinations in American Samoa, Tonga, Wallis Island and Niue.
See www.samoaair.ws for more information on schedules and destinations.
By Grant Dixon
My first visit to Samoa, before NZ Fishing News days, was in the early 1990s – part of a NZ Community Newspapers Association’s exchange programme.
Apia, Samoa’s charter fleet and marina facilities has expanded rapidly in recent years. I spent three weeks in Apia attached to the Samoa Observer, one of the few independent publications at the time, where I helped advise their newsroom.
During my stay I was keen to do a little fishing, but there was nothing obviously available. None of the hotels had any fishing brochures on their tours desk and the Visitors Bureau couldn’t help. I asked around about game fishing, and always drew a blank from the locals or was pointed towards the small commercial fleet of drop-lining boats that supplied the domestic market with albacore and skipjack.
Since that first trip and my secondment to this magazine more years ago than I care to remember, I have enjoyed 18 trips to Samoa and have seen the recreational sport fishery grow to be a good as any of its Pacific island neighbours.
Samoa has many fond memories for me. It was where I caught my first marlin, a 149kg blue from one of the first ‘official’ charter boats Ole Pea, a 7.6m Ramco Sportsman operated by Samoa Marine. Later trips produced my first decent yellowfin, a 68kg specimen, which was the Samoa International Game Fishing Association’s 37kg record for a while, as well as my first-ever sailfish.
Initially my visits involved assisting with the running and promotion of the first SIGFA tournaments, which saw many of the visitors fishing aboard the local aleas – the twin-hulled commercial fishing boats then involved with a fledgling commercial long-lining industry.
What the Samoans lacked in fishing expertise, craft and gear was made up for by their legendary hospitality, a feature that has remained right through to today’s tournaments.
Getting enough boats of a suitable quality was a serious issue though, and the local crews struggled to come to grips with the IGFA rules on which the tournament – but not their day-to-day fishing – was based.
Fortunately, over time the spirit of IGFA rules was appreciated and understood, and sponsorship remained strong. The outstanding issue was therefore the number of suitable charter craft available,and as a consequence the ‘bring your own boat’ regime was instituted.
This got off to a bit of a shaky start. Not all the government departments were singing from the same song sheet, resulting in the odd hidden cost or two, and one of the boats rolled off a ship while in transit in Fiji, the stern leg getting damaged when it crashed onto the wharf.
I am pleased to report the whole process has been tidied up and the Samoan Government has done a fantastic job of making it as easy as possible for Kiwi crews to bring out their own boats (thanks also to Pacific Forum Line, who played a major part, too).
When the original committee first dreamt up the SIGFA tournament, few could have envisaged the large number of boats and international anglers contesting the event today. I am unaware of another Pacific destination, other than Hawaii, that has a gamefishing contest of such significance, especially as it now combines with neighbours American Samoa to bring two good contests back-to-back (see Sam Mossman’s report of the Pago Pago leg elsewhere in this edition).
Just as the tournament has grown, so too have the facilities and charter fleet. From those early days of Samoa Marine on Ole Pea, along with a handful of locals such as Alfred Schwalger, Max Rassmussen, Peter Meredith, Roy Lee and Seb Kolhase successfully operating smaller charter boats, there is now a good number of choices offering both half and full days, as well as live-aboard charters.
This latter option has come as ex-pats arrived and brought bigger boats. Australian Greg Hopping was one of the first, shipping out a 35ft Bertram Reel Indulgence after being a frequent visitor to the SIGFA tournament and seeing the island nation’s sportfishing potential. Also, Steve Campbell, how based out of Tonga’s Ika Lahi Gamefishing Lodge, spent a winter in Apia with Reel Passion before moving on.
American Chris Donato arrived on the scene too, operating a 9.75m centre-console sportfisher Black Pearl out of the island’s south side in conjunction with Salani Surf Resort. This boat was subsequently sold to Roy Lee, who until then had been running charters out of his catamaran Great White. Chris invested in a 13.1m Luhrs Southern Destiny, from which he caught Samoa’s first ever ‘grander’ blue marlin last year. Both he and Greg operate out of the relatively new Apia Marina, offering both day and live-aboard charters on good quality larger craft, complementing the smaller boats in the fleet.
The latter have been scaled up. Alfred now operates an eight-metre Kingfisher alloy boat and both Seb Kolhase and son Kevin also charter fish from Kingfisher boats, with Kevin’s being a nine-metre catamaran. The south side is the intended home for another Kiwi boat, Extreme Measures, operated by Johnathon Barlow. The big Bladerunner catamaran will be based at the Sinalei Resort, where another, smaller Bladerunner Fish the Dream arrived several years ago.
While the above is a thumbnail sketch of the development of gamefishing and the charter fleet in Samoa over the last two decades, it is by no means a comprehensive list. It covers the main players based Upolo. There are other options available, mainly with smaller local village-based boats, on the island of Savaii.
Like to fish Samoa with NZ Fishing News?
In September, 2013, the magazine will be hosting a week-long trip to Samoa to sample a wide range of fishing for pelagics such as marlin, tuna, sailfish, mahimahi and wahoo, as well as exciting inshore species that include dogtooth tuna, giant trevally, coral trout and the like. While the final details have yet to be organised, the trip will involve five days of fishing on the best charter boats available while staying at a quality resort. Only 20 fishing spots are available, but there will also be a partner’s programme. If this sounds like a bit of you, contact Grant Dixon to register your interest: Grant.dixon@fishnz (09) 634 9851 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: NZ Fishing News