Samoa 2003

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A very common sight are the graves in front of the fales. For Westerners this is quite unusual, however these ancestral monuments, often made from black lava stone are perfectly suited for drying clothes or sitting on. This grave, by the way, is not the burial place for the wanderer in the blue skirt.
The western tip of Savai'i is very lonely and a very special place too. This is the beach of Falealupo Tai, where there are some ancient ritual grounds made from black lava rock. Nowadays these places have little significance for the Samoan people, they seem to be only of interest to travelers. The original religion of the Samoans, which has a close connection to the spirits of the land, has almost completely vanished since the arrival of the missionaries.
Another view of the beach at Falealupo. The contrast between the white sand and the pitch-black rocks is very sharp, for the eyes as well as my feet. If the weather conditions are right you can watch amazing sunsets.
The village of Faia'ai is situated on the coast 60 meters above sea level. From the main road there is a steep path climbing down into a lush overgrown valley that opens up to the sea. On the photo you can see the guest fale which is directly adjacent to the community fale, where the women are weaving the mats. It is also the place where the village telephone is.
A present from overseas arrives.
At Faia'ai's beach there are "real" waves. The sheltering reef that surrounds many bays was destroyed by a volcano outbreak last century.
This boats trip is in the lagoon where the turtle farms are. The young of the giant sea turtle, which formerly were caught and killed by the fishermen are now bought by the conservation project. They are raised in a safe environment and released when they are adults.
I went to feed the big turtles in a pool. It is a unusual experience to be close to these animals, which are peaceful vegetarians. I also snorkeled along with them in the warm and clear water, that was a very special feeling.
The photo above contains a message for the inhabitants of Bavaria: "Don't be afraid of global warming!"

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