by Alan Ah Mu
APIA: MONDAY 20 MAY 2013: An articulate man, Andy Warton was left speechless by what he saw on his historic kayak trip around Samoa earlier this month.
Not from the daily exhaustion of 13 days of paddling in open water.
Nor apparently from fright because he didn’t see the shark that came within 50metres of his kayak that one of his support crew saw.
“All he said was it was longer than the boat,” said Warton, adding the boat concerned was 18 metres long.
No, what left him lost for words was the loveliness of the sights he came across in his round trip.
And the adventurer isn’t impressed easily because he has travelled a bit around the world.
“The scenery … I can’t describe it,” said Warton.
“Words can’t explain it,” he said.
It was scenery that belonged to National Geographic, said the adventurer of the famous magazine noted for its spectacular photos of nature.
Apart from the scenery dolphins accompanied Warton has he headed to shore for one of his stops and he saw turtles.
From the air pilot and Chief Executive Officer of world famous Samoa Air, Chris Langton, has looked down on scenes of breathtaking beauty.
Langton understands Warton’s condition at seeing them.
“ We’ve both been lucky to see parts of Samoa which can only be seen from an aircraft or a boat,” said Langton.
“Savai’i and Upolu have scenic aspects which are unreachable by our road transport system and for Savai’i the island itself is massive and … never seen in panorama as we see it from the air,” he said.
“The response we get from people who take a scenic tour is that it compares with the best from anywhere.
“We have variety and its spectacular and it flows from one site to another.
“The Savai’i coast is very similar to Hawaii, from cliffs to sandy coves to wide lagoons and at 6200 feet (Mt) Sili Sili is higher than anything in Australia.”
Of the Top 10 attraction sites on record that were visited by tourists and locals last year none are open water locations which suggests few saw what Warton saw as he circled the islands of Samoa.
Samoa Tourism Authority’s (STA) top attraction sites of last year in Upolu and Savai’i islands were:
1. Papaseea Sliding Rock 12,693
2. Robert Louis Stevenson Museum 8,699
3. To Sua 7,977
4. Bahai Temple 5,465
5. Swimming with turtles 4,774
6. Palolo Deep 4,296
7. Sopoaga Falls 3,075
8. Alofaaga Blow Holes 3,027
9. National Museum 2,457
10. Afu Aau Falls 1,192
STA admits their survey is not as complete as desired because of limited co-operation from the owners of some attraction sites but they’ve made a start at gathering information from such places.
But what Warton came across indicates clearly that of the beautiful spots around the country there’s more yet to be opened up for visitors to discover.