The idea of sleeping on a small island was too tempting, so when I had to pick a place on the east coast of Upolu island, I selected Namua island. A local family runs the place, and the practicalities turned out to be much easier than I had expected: a lady in the shop on the main island just called across, and while I waited on the seaside, and got my first glimpse of the island, I could see a small boat approach over the turquoise water. The distance between the islands is so short you could swim it, even though I later learnt that a volunteer worker had been killed by a shark around 15 years before, which seemed strange, as the reef is quite further away. Anyway, when I stepped off the boat with my bags, the bounty-beauty I had seen from a distance, now showed itself for real. Palmtrees right at the edge of the beach, with their feet in the water that was that picture-perfect colour that is so pleasing to the eyes. There was a small crowd, and I expected a social evening, but the friendly folks left, and while I was having dinner, the boss told me that he had some things to fix - and I was all alone on Namua island, bar the two sweet dogs. I almost begged him to leave it like that, but he was adamant that one guy came back, just in case. A lost opportunity to spend one night all alone on an island!
I had a fantastic night in my beach fale, where I slept on a mattress on a wooden floor, with the unbeatable sound of small waves in the foreground, and the big waves breaking on the reef in the distance. I woke up just in time to realize I should still try to walk to the other side of the island and see sunrise, even though the tide was coming up. I waded through the water, and my two temporary dog friends waded with me. When I rounded the cape, the sun was just appearing above the horizon; but the terrain was getting more treacherous as well. There were slippery rocks, and after trying to wade around the island, I realized that the task was just too risky: on my right, there were steep cliffs that could not be climbed, and on my left the rising sea: I decided to return. It was only the next day that I realized that I had probably been one of the very first persons to see the sun rise on that day, given that Samoa is the most advanced country when it comes to timezones, and that I was at the eastern tip of one of the easternmost islands.
After attempting to wade around the island on the other side, and giving up when I could no longer keep my camera sufficiently above the water, it was time to hike up to the highest point of the small island. A little steep, the clear trail leads through the forest, and my two friends followed every step I took; I was touched by their faithfulness. The trail followed the entire crest of the hill, and at a few points, there were pretty good views of the waves breaking on the reef below, other, some even smaller, islands around Namua, and of course Upolu that seemed to be waking up. I walked to where the trail faded into the forest, and then hiked back, realizing that it was actually getting hot now - as soon as I was back on the beach again, I directly hit the water, and even here, the dogs followed me to cool off. After breakfast, I snorkeled just off the island, surprised that quite some coral was still intact; after all, a tsunami had hit the area badly in 2009, mainly inflicting damage on the main island. Then, on the one hand, I felt I had to leave, while on the other, staying a little longer on the beach was very tempting, too. I let the sun roast me a little before asking if the boat could take me back, and as we did so, I watched the brilliantly green island get smaller, and the light blue of the Pacific waters get bigger.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Namua island (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Namua island.
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