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Peaceful Savaii, the larger of the two main Samoan islands, and far less populated than neighbouring Upolu. The island is the tip of a massive shield volcano, only three percent of which is above the water, and which last erupted in the early 20th century. It is slightly larger than the Scottish Isle of Skye, and slightly smaller than Mauritius.

I spent two nights on Savaii, as my first destination in Samoa, having crossed on the ferry by the airport on Upolu. There is basically just one road ringing the whole island, so I spent a day exploring one direction, and the next day exploring the next. The volcanic slopes are not steep, but access to the centre of the island would have required much bush-whacking.

Colourful bus in Savaii

These ubiquitous colourful buses bounce all around Savaii. Although hot, no air conditioning is required when there are no windows.

The coast of Savaii, where the sea and the sky match in brilliant blue.

Savaii palms in the breeze

Vaimoana Seaside Lodge

Vaimoana Seaside Lodge, where I spent my two nights on Savaii in a little hut on stilts just over the seashore. The hotel was half board, which was just as well as there was very little in the way of restaurants nearby.

Alofaaga blowholes on the south coast of the islands, where lava tubes and skylights are carved and blasted through by the waves. My guide could perfectly time throwing in a coconut shell, so that it would be launched out a hundred feet into the air.

Alofaaga blowholes

Saleaula lava-inundated church

The most recent lava flow on Savaii inundated this church at Saleaula, in around 1911. Tree roots now spill out from on end, with the lava spilling in from the other.

Samoa, like Hawaii, exhibits pahoehoe lava - the distinctive ropey formations seen here, like thick custard skin.

Pahoehoe ropey lava

House of Rock

Another lava formation, this one is dubbed the "House of Rock", and although it appears almost like a lava tube, I reckon this was formed by deformation of the crispy top layer when it was still molten below.

A colourful church in Savaii, this one is not far from the ferry terminal at Salelologa.

Colourful church in Savaii

Tropical tree

I saw several examples of this beautiful bright orange tree across Samoa. I'm no botanist, unfortunately, so I can't tell you what it is.

Towards the capes of the west of the island is a large forest canopy walkway, entered by this giant treehouse.

Giant treehouse

Forest canopy rope bridge

Several large banyan trees are connected by rope bridges and walkways high up in the forest canopy.

Back at the lodge, there were many signs warning to watch for the coconut danger overhead. I was reminded of the Roald Dahl short story, "The Boy Who Talked With Animals", and the perils of Jamaican coconut trees.

Beware falling cocount

Sun lounger on a pier

A fine spot to while away the rest of the afternoon, gazing over the south Pacific from this lounger. I also kayaked over to the island one afternoon.

Where the island isn't protected by a reef, the full force of the Pacific is unleashed, and this was on a fairly nice day.

Giant wave


The Yuhchang Number 7 came too close to Savaii for comfort, apparently quite recently as the vessel appears to be in relatively good condition. Its home port is Port Vila in Vanuatu.

A hermit crab carries its home across the sand. At first glance the beaches appeared empty, but on closer inspection many hundreds of hermit crabs could be easily spotted.

Hermit crab

Be a tidy Samoan!

Cheerful and encouraging text on the rubbish collection racks, Samoa is also kept tidy by keeping trash above ground level and out of the reach of local pigs.

A regular ferry service connects the islands of Savaii and Upolu, sailing once every couple of hours. I drove my rental car onboard, and enjoyed the view from an upper deck on the journey of about an hour.

Upolu-Savaii ferry

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2018