Salamumu was the other sliver of paradise we found on the southern coast of Samoa. It was a deserted white sand beach with inky black lava rock formations lining the shore. We were there during low tide, so the lava rocks formed beach coves perfect for swimming, napping, and sunbathing.
Not that we needed the privacy; aside from a few children collecting wood for making tapa (fabric) when we first arrived, we had the stretch of coast completely to ourselves. Judging by the number of large, colorful shells on the beach, we figured that Salamumu is infrequently visited. This was particularly surprising considering that one of the few resorts on the island was right next door. This resort isn't a monolithic colossus the likes of which we’ve seen in the Society Islands or the Caribbean, but instead a small community of bungalows surrounding a single restaurant. It was either empty at the time, or the guests were staying politely on their side of the breakwater, because we didn’t hear a human sound during our afternoon visit.
Dominic and I would gladly return to any of the places we’ve visited so far, but Samoa is pretty high on the list. There are cave pools and waterfalls we didn’t have time to see, and an entire island, Savai’i, left to explore. The one down side of the Samoan islands is their limited number of anchorages. The islands have a fringing reef much like the Society Islands, but in most places it comes up directly against the coast so there is no channel within the protection of the reef to navigate the boat. Thus a trip to Samoa for most boats means anchoring out or tying up to the dock in the main town of Apia and touring by land. We explored by rental car for three days, which is fun, easy, and refreshing as the roads are lined with fruit and vegetable stands selling iced coconuts to drink, but a little pricey for our per diem cruising budget.
So, after ten days in Samoa and with a easterly breeze in the forecast, on Thursday evening, we set sail for Tonga.