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Snorkelling in Samoa with Turtles

Snorkelling in Samoa gives you the opportunity to swim with turtles in amongst beautiful coral reefs and in warm crystal clear water. What more do you need?

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We love the water. Heck, it was the reason we decided to go Snorkelling in Samoa in the first place. We envisioned spending our mornings waking to the sounds of the surf pounding on the shallow reefs. Donning our hard bottomed reef-booties and heading out for a quick surf in Samoa before breakfast. Free-diving in the tranquil sea for hours as the hot summer sun beat down upon our backs.

Fortunately, we were not disappointed.

Our traditional Samoan accommodation – Beach Fale literally on the beach

Snorkelling in Samoa

One of the main reasons I wanted to go snorkelling in Samoa was to swim with turtles. Ever since we had first seen a turtle when I was just 7 years old at Plantation Island in Fiji, I have wanted to see them again.

In fact, even one of my bucket list items is to go volunteer to help with the turtles breeding somewhere like Greece.

So one blazing hot afternoon, the South Pacific Ocean embraced our skin with it’s warmth as we duck-waddled into the water off the beach in front of our Fale (there is no glamorous way to walk in flippers). The sand puffing up between our feet with each step as we eased our way in to the deeper water.

I tweaked the mask strap one last time so that it wouldn’t let in any water to disrupt my view and took the plunge face first.

The bubbles slowly evaporated around my lens to reveal the fish re-emerging from their hurried hiding places between the various outcrops once they realised this extremely pasty white body was no danger to them.

But the colours compared to my translucent body was amazing.

Oh, the colours! Reds, Blues, Yellows, Greens and every other imaginable colour of the rainbow were littered across the ocean floor.

With a few deep breaths and two swift kicks I let the current settle around me as I drifted calmly in to the main channel of the bay. Everywhere we looked the fish were carrying about their business. It always makes me wonder if the ocean life really is like Finding Nemo with every fish going about their daily rituals just as we do on dry land.

The sunlight filtered through the surface creating an eerie glow the deeper you swam. Fish parted before us like the Red Sea in front of Moses.

And then came a muffled cry. “Muuurrrtttllleeeeesss”. I lifted my head above the calm surface. Water ran from my ears, still blocked with the salt water from the last descent.

What?!”

“TURTLE’S!!!!”

In just our first snorkelling in Samoa adventure, we had spotted turtles. And it was them. Not just one lazy little turtle but three. All slowly stroking their way across the width of the channel totally ignoring our delighted girly squeals from the surface (not from me of course…)

A little bit shy hiding under the rock

Their mottled green and brown armour plated shells blended in perfectly with the surrounding rocks and reef. The little heads were on a constant swivel as they surveyed their habitat with wary eyes watching out for fishermen who are still allowed to catch them.

As a side note, these same fishermen have quickly realised that the money they can earn from turtles as a tourist attraction far outweighs the money they gain from catching them so fortunately this is a rapidly declining business.

The turtles four hinged flippers protruded from their shells and cut through the water effortlessly as they glided across the lagoon. We continued to float on the surface as they gracefully moved about below us before I decided to investigate getting closer. I took one last breath of fresh air and duck-dived below the surface to sneak up on them from behind. Moving like a stealth submarine I suddenly realised that I was getting closer and closer.

My arms stretched away in front of me as I approached. 30 feet, 20 feet, 10 feet.

POW!

It was like a fire-bolt had shot from their behinds.

With one swift stroke they were off. And even though I had been a competitive swimmer in my teens there was no way I could keep up with them when they realised my intentions. I retreated to the surface huffing and puffing from my brief moment of exertion as they disappeared into the gloom.

Fortunately for us it wouldn’t be our last encounter with the turtles while snorkelling in Samoa.

We spotted others at least once a day as we cruised the sea in front of our own Fale as well as in different locations around the Island of Upolu. It probably helps that we have been water babies our entire lives and are confident enough to venture out further and deeper than most other tourists are willing to go and that we would spend upwards of 3 hours at a time free-diving from the beach. But on many occasions we would only be metres from the shoreline when we would spot turtles lounging in the shallows.

With all the excitement and again with the girly squeals, the only two I managed to get decent photographs of were hiding under rocks on separate occasions. Only venturing out when they needed to head to the surface for a breath of fresh air like ourselves.

It took me back to that one day over 15 years ago on the beach in Fiji when I spotted my first turtle. That sheer joy of floating in the crystal clear water with just the sea, sun and sea-life easing all our worries.

Perfection.

Have you had any similar experiences with wildlife that you had been “just dying” to see and were lucky enough to fulfil those dreams? Leave us a comment because we want to hear about it below!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Kate

    October 3, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    First of all, wow what an amazing experience! I’ve been lucky enough to swim with turtles in the Bahamas and off the Yucatan Peninsula, but your location is simply stunning.

    A similar “wow I’m really doing this moment” was when I jumped in with a school of about 1,000 common dolphin approximately a mile off the coast of Catalina Island (one of the California Channel Islands) when I was 14. The water was a deep blue color and as far as I could see down and to either side there were dolphins, swimming through the rays of sunlight. It was incredible.

    If you don’t mind my asking, where in New Zealand are you from? I spent last semester there for a study abroad program through my college and absolutely fell in love with the country. What a spectacular place it is =)

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      October 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      You definitely have to get over to Samoa Kate. Was fantastic. Hopefully we will have the chance to return or at least find some other amazing spots too.

      I love snorkelling with dolphins. Its amazing how quickly they swim past you just being curious. We used to see them a lot when we were off the Coromandel Peninsula in NZ if we were going out on our boat. Awesome experiences.

      Don’t mind you asking at all. I am from Mount Maunganui / Tauranga originally and Adela is from Wellington. Where did you study? Where are you now?

  2. Kate

    October 3, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    I was studying at the University of Auckland, so most of my time was spent around the city… I did manage to get down to Matamata and the Shire, Waitomo Caves, Raglan, and Rotorua though, as well as go from Queenstown to Christchurch via Stray bus. Did my bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge =) Also spent 4 days out at Stewart Island, which was so relaxing and beautiful. Not that all of NZ isn’t… haha.

    I’m back at my home uni now, in Rhode Island. The whole experience feels a little surreal, which is probably a feeling you’re used to, traveling around as much as you do. It’s pretty awesome what you and Adela are doing – I’m jealous!

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      October 4, 2011 at 7:28 AM

      I love Lord of the Rings yet I have never done any of the tours. Its one of those things that if its in your own backyard then you never visit it.
      We love the States especially the East Coast area but never got to head out to Rhode Island during our 18,000 km road trip across Canada and USA. Will have to head back sometime.

  3. Kate

    October 5, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Haha yeah know what you mean about the whole backyard thing. Did you make it into Michigan by any chance when you were in the US? I’m actually from the Upper Peninsula…only 5 hours away from Canada and yet I didn’t go there until the summer before my freshman year of college.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      October 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      Not through Michigan unfortunately. We had so much to do and no where near enough time to do it. Will need to come back sometime to visit all the places we missed out on!

  4. Kate

    October 6, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    Sounds like a plan! I plan on going back to NZ when I have more time and a lot more money. Haha. And when I’ve gotten used to driving on the wrong side of the road! Lol.

  5. dtravelsround

    April 11, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    WOW! These are amazing!!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Thanks! It was by far one of the coolest experiences ever.

  6. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    April 11, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    What an incredible experience! I can think of quite a few reasons I’d enjoy being in Samoa, but this pretty much tops them all! Thank you — this gives me extra motivation to get that waterproof digital camera I’ve been wanting 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      April 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      I was lucky we managed to salvage these photos after my waterproof camera leaked on the last day! Extremely lucky. Hope you visit soon Ellen 😉

  7. Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    April 12, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    This sounds amazing. I love sea turtles. They look like cute old men. Really trying to visit Samoa as soon as possible!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 13, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      We would love to go back to Samoa! The warm and clear waters were fantastic. Plus they had excellent surfing nearby too.

  8. Ali

    April 26, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    I love snorkeling! Those turtles look so cute!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      We were really lucky to see them nearly every day Ali. They were amazing.

  9. Amanda

    May 6, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    That sounds so awesome! I’ve always wanted to snorkel with sea turtles. I tried in Hawaii, but didn’t see any. Was still very cool though!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 7, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      We were just really lucky in Samoa that they seemed to be everywhere! Every time we went for a snorkel we would see some. Maybe you need a trip down there Amanda 🙂

      • Louise hannagan

        March 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        Hi is there a particular beach we should go to to see these amazing turtles? We are hoping to head to savai’i,Samoa in july

        • Cole Burmester

          March 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM

          Hey Louise.
          Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! We stayed at the bottom of Upolu Island near the village of Maninoa and this is where we did most of our snorkelling. However, my parents have stayed on Savai’i in the past and seen turtles there when they were snorkelling so I am sure your chances will be great!
          Enjoy your travels and please let us know how it goes 🙂
          Cheers,
          Cole

  10. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    May 19, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    There are several creatures I’d love to swim with turtles being included. Another is a whale shark…

    • Cole Burmester

      May 20, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      Oh man I would love to swim with a whale shark Mary! My parents are off to Tonga this year to do it and I am so jealous!

  11. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    August 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    This is super cool, you guys! I haven’t had any “oh my god” moments with wildlife yet (although I’m always excited whenever I see squirrels…does that count?) but I plan to next year on safari in Africa. I love turtles – they’re like modern day dinosaurs to me, plus Finding Nemo has taught us that they’re all super cool-slash-huggable.

    • Cole Burmester

      August 17, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Haha we were stoked to see squirrels the first time in Canada as well. After seeing them everywhere you kinda get over them. Although it is nice to see them run through the park in Edinburgh. Where on the safari are you going and who with? We want to plan one as well.

      • Tom @ Waegook Tom

        August 18, 2012 at 6:04 AM

        Planning on going to Zambia next August/September with Jackalberry Safaris. Check them out, Zambia isn’t as big as, say, Kenya/Tanzania/Botswana as a safari destination – remains fairly undiscovered and that means cheap prices & lots of animals! Maybe worth looking into.

        • Cole Burmester

          August 19, 2012 at 9:56 AM

          That sounds exactly what we want to do. Thanks for the recommendation Tom.

  12. Glenn

    January 26, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Hi Cole
    Did have to go out past the reef or were they shore side. We are in Samoa now on the south coast and snorkelling every day in hope of spotting one

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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