Western Samoa: avoiding the eye of cyclone MICK

Just a quick update from the middle of the Pacific. We actually need to catch up a lot on our writing with very interesting weeks on the Big Island, Oahu and Switzerland behind us, and we will…

This morning we left Honolulu airport bound for Nadi, Fiji, in a 737-800. Well, we were just ahead of tropical storm / cyclone NICK which was supposed to hit Fiji just 12-24 hours after our scheduled arrival in Nadi. Just to make sure we did not have to test the life rafts of a 737, the captain decided to head for Samoa for a quick fuel stop, as this would give him enough fuel to hover above the Fijian islands and return to Samoa or another tropical island of choice. Well, we crossed the equator and the date line and got to Samoa, where we found out that NICK had accelerated a bit and was actually hitting the Fijian islands hard just as we set foot on Samoan soil.

Desctruction path of Cyclone MICK

Desctruction path of Cyclone MICK

The captain contemplated delaying tactics for a while, and then decided that sitting by a pool at sunset beats landing with 50 knots of tailwind on a runway filled with a 10 cm layer of water from torrential downpours. Maybe he was just ready to have a drink. And he clearly stated the pure facts to some stressed out complaining passengers: “There is only one plane on the island, and I am the pilot of it, so it is flying where and when I decide.
One dedicated customs girl filled out 150 applications by hand, and an hour later we were on a bus, driving on the left side of the road along the North coast of Western Samoa, on a gentle road by beautiful colourful beachfront homes, with kids playing in tidal pools and ladies dressed in full white emerging from massive churches after Sunday mass. (Western Samoa, a small spec on the world map with 182,000 inhabitants has always been very popular with me, as I got this right 100% of the time in the German game called “Stadt, Land, Fluss” where you had to write down geographical terms which start with a letter that is randomly chosen, as quickly as you can – Western Samoa happens to be the only of 192 countries that starts with the letter W). After 30 minutes we arrived in the nation’s capital, Apia, and were deposited at the very unique Aggie Gray’s family hotel. Within minutes we were immerged in the pool with a cocktail, surrounded by the 150 other passengers, a very international and diverse crowd, including the 28 man Tongan rugby team. After local mellow guitar tunes and very pleasant barbeque food made with lots of taro and coconut, we are ready to watch the stars and dream of heading South to new adventures in the morning…

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Categories: Fiji

toc dep | giam can nhanh