Samoa a New Frontier of Old Proves Gold
supplied by AquaSamoa
It’s the Treasure Island of Robert Louis Stevenson and sometime home of James A Michrner. A place that is underestimated (and still largely unknown) in diving circles. The islands of Samoa.
Visiting the Samoan Islands you will encounter a world with a unique culture and untouched natural beauty – the ultimate place to escape the pressures of modern life. With its laid back pace of life, timeless beachcomber lifestyle, palm-fringed beaches, lush rainforests, turquoise lagoons, and ideal ocean temperatures year round, it is the picture perfect holiday destination.
The reefs surrounding Samoa are home to more than 900 species of fish and over 200 varieties of coral. With a total of 10 islands Samoa is largely encircled by beautiful turquoise lagoons surrounded by reef. The westernmost islands, Manono and Apolima are now proving to be home to some of the Pacific’s most outstanding dive sites.
Compared to other dive destinations these waters are relatively unexplored, however this is quickly changing as more people around the world are hearing of Samoa as an emerging dive destination. As the word spreads more through word of mouth than anything else Advanced divers and above are invited to â€˜explore’.
This unique invitation – to go where no diver has gone before – is an experience which is proving very popular with many divers revelling in the opportunity to be the first in the water, an added bonus – naming the sites they find. A number of sites including Bucks Reef, Laumei and Tad’s Pad have been found in this way, the divers who chose the coordinates from the map and were the first to dive there will now be forever remembered through the names they
have chosen. While it sounds easy, exploring takes time, it is not just a case of dropping in the water and finding pristine sites everywhere. Samoa is part of the cyclone belt and in the past cyclones have damaged parts of the reef leaving some areas still recovering. Scuba divers with an eye for adventure have recently found some excellent sites easily as good as elsewhere in the world.
Opperer House, one of the more popular sites was found this way by keen expatriate diver Thomas Opperer who is currently living in Samoa until 2009. Thomas says it was an incredible feeling to be diving somewhere no one had ever dived and was pleasantly surprised when he found such an amazing site on what was only his second â€˜explorer’ dive.
After a 30 minute scenic boat ride through the lagoon from the Aggie Grey’s Lagoon Beach Resort and Spa, and about 70m from the prehistoric sheer cliffs of Apolima Island which once formed the crater of a volcano, Thomas rolled back off the boat in no mans land only to be instantly immersed in a wonderland of colour and life.
By a fluke of Thomas’ surname the site is actually appropriately named, the soft corals garden beginning at a ledge in about seven metres of water forming a â€˜stage’ before dropping away to around 40 metres. As you weave between the gently swaying corals the magic operatic ambience is complemented by the songs of passing whales as they swim past on their migrating journey in late August and September.
Dive operators AquaSamoa are located on the north western shores of the main Island of Upolu within the grounds of Aggie Grey’s Lagoon Beach Resort and Spa, close to Manono and Apolima Islands, about 45 minutes drive from the capital Apia.
Collectively Aquasamoa have over 30 years’ international diving experience and your wellbeing and safety are their utmost priority. First rate professional skills and equipment guarantee you a carefree and rewarding diving adventure and their local knowledge ensures you experience the very best Samoa has to offer.
Dives in the area proffer a range of canyons, wall dives, swimthroughs, caves and coral gardens. Large table corals screen elusive lobsters, and rainbow runners, schools of barracuda, tuna, unicorn fish, turtles, reef sharks and blue fin trevally abound along with moray eels, rays and plenty of tropical fish and striking coral. On deeper dives black gorgonian fans add to the unspoilt beauty.
So if you are an experienced diver and exploring unchartered waters is your thing, or you are looking for somewhere new to dive you can’t go past this unique and memorable diving location.
While Samoa is only just discovering tourism it is in the lucky situation where it has all the ingredients people look for in a holiday â€“ sunshine, sea, rainforests, mountains, waterfalls, cave pools, golden sands, shady palms, great restaurants, friendly locals – and now with more and more dive sites being found, great visibility and an abundance of fish life the appeal of this country is growing.