One of the nice things about being senior missionaries is that, unlike the young missionaries, we can have family members come visit us and we can take time off to be with them. A few weeks ago we were delighted to have our daughter Natalie and son-in-law Steve Gresko and their three sons from Reno come to Samoa. How wonderful it was to have our grandsons Tell, Dallin, and Porter go swimming with us in our favorite spots in this tropical paradise!
Thus, this edition of our blog is designed as a quick – well, maybe not so quick – recounting of some of their 12-day whirlwind tour of Samoa. You are welcome to read the whole thing, or just scroll quickly down through the pictures. (Clicking on the pictures enlarges them.)
We are frequent visitors to the Apia Airport where it is our opportunity to pick up newly arriving missionaries. If you look closely at the picture of their plane, you can see some of the Greskos on the far right staircase.
Needless to say, this trip to the airport was especially enjoyable.
We lost no time in getting into the water.
We went snorkeling in a place we call “Giant Clam Beach,” where the clams are 2- and 3-feet long and very colorful.
This beach, like many in Samoa, has several small Samoan-type houses, or fale, where we could stack our stuff and rest awhile.
We did not bring the underwater camera along with us, so this picture is taken from the internet.
We went walking in the jungle to a huge and strangely-shaped tree.
At the base of the tree, its huge roots look like huge fans protruding out onto the ground around it.
The giant ferns along the side of the road are fascinating!
We stopped at a large pool on the side of the road and fed papaya to the turtles.
A few years ago American television carried the show “Survivor – Samoa” which was filmed, oddly enough, right here in Samoa. We stopped at the site. A new resort is being built there, capitalizing on the name.
As we traveled around the island, we stopped frequently at some of the beautiful and majestic waterfalls found in Samoa.
One of these falls is just outside the village of Sauniatu. Sauniatu is a special place in Samoa. In the early days of the Church here (about 110 years ago), a family or a village might banish a person who joined the Mormon faith. It was to Sauniatu that these cast-outs could resort to live and work. Today an LDS school operates there, and many people come to it annually to swim in the beautiful falls.
The boys’ parents – and especially their grandparents – came near to heart failure as they watched Tell, Dallin, and Porter scale the cliffs to show off by bravely jumping 10, 20, and even 30 feet into the deep pool.
Click here for a great video!
One of the local citizenry was especially fascinated by the foreigners’ antics.
At another nearby mountain pool, one in which “Papa” bathed 50 years ago, he showed the grandsons how he used to take a bath in the river every day.
Anyone up for a good “chicken fight”?
Who needs diving boards, anyway?
There was, to be sure, a fair amount of dining out after a full day’s set of adventures.
One day we made an excursion over to the small islands of Apolima and Manono. No one got seasick!
Not the USS Minnow, but still a nice little boat.
Apolima and Manono are about as far away from Western “civilization” as you can get. Both islands are quiet, clean, dog-free and car-free.
Porter enjoyed discovering the fauna on the Island.
Standing on what remains of the Apolima wharf destroyed by the 2009 tsusami.
We had dinner one evening at the Treehouse Resort, or “Treesort” on Upolu Island. The Greskos spent a night there.
Natalie was fascinated by the indoor – or rather, intree – bathroom and shower.
One of the most fascinating places on the island is the “To Sua Trench.” From a point about 100 feet above sea level, one climbs down the steps and ladders into this trench which fills and empties with the tides just outside the trench.
It was another great place to have fun!
And just down the road is a great place to have a great lunch, the Sea Breeze Restaurant. We were able to persuade Sister Darla Anderson (Elder McBride’s sister) to join us for some of the fun.
You can’t visit Samoa without attending one of the stupendous Polynesian shows. This one at the Tradition Resort is one of the best.
We went to the seaside fish market one morning.
Fresh octopus, anyone?
We bought enough lobster to fill all of us for under $25 U.S. dollars.
One morning we visited a Samoan family who showed us how a traditional Samoan meal is prepared.
It was a most informative cultural experience.
And the food was delicious!
It was great having the Greskos with us. You, too, are invited to visit us here in “The Pearl of the Pacific” (but you had better come soon, as our mission ends the middle of March!).