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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?



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.



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.


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.


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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  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 🙂

  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

Explore Auckland’s Coasts With One Exquisite Walking Hike



There is a wonderful place found in the far southwest of the Pacific Ocean. It is a place called Auckland, and it is found in the amazing terrain of New Zealand. It is a place that commands the attention of over 1 million people who prefer to live and reside in this majestic city.

Did you know that Auckland claims the top spot in New Zealand with its wide range of people and the most concentrated number of people within a city in New Zealand?

But why do so many people come to Auckland, New Zealand, and live there? What do they appreciate the most?

The truth is that the answer may vary, and it may differ from person to person, but it is hard to deny that nature is not a crucial part of their decision making. The beautiful city has fantastic places that offer great adventure and recreational activity.

You can take advantage of the diverse coasts, hidden coves, and more of the northern area in the North Island. It is known for its various boats, and some believe that it has more ships than any other city in the entire world.

It is a city that resides between two large fantastic natural harbors.

Let us find out more about how you can explore this majestic city with one fantastic walking hike.

The Auckland Coast

For those who want to stay near to Auckland’s city and travel well, it is necessary to start your journey with the Auckland Coast’s breathtaking area.

Did you know that Auckland’s coast ranges over 15km, will take over four hours to traverse, and is somewhat challenging to navigate? But the truth is that it is worth it. Why is it worth it? Well, you can seemingly walk the length of an entire nation within the span of a few hours. If you wake up early in the morning and go on this journey, you can finish your hike by noon or an hour past noon.

But in that brief timeframe, you can experience several oceans, notice a slew of volcanoes, and have a glimpse into people’s regular lives in the New Zealand area.

This fantastic walk is excellent because of its duration and because you are able to experience lush greenery and park settings over 30% of the time. It is a great way to clear your head, get to know more about the people you are traveling with, and experience the refreshing Auckland air.

Experts suggest beginning your journey at the less intriguing Onehunga area and then moving forward with public transportation at the Britomart stop. You will find that you can travel east to take in the water sights with a bit of work.

When your walk is over, you can grab a fresh beverage at the Waitemata Harbour, a premium harbor.

You will want to make sure to bring some healthy snacks along for the walk because you may not notice different places to eat as you go on this part of the hike.

It is best to ensure that you understand that you must input the Ferry Building into your mobile device or ensure to use the local municipal iSITE for further guidance.

If you are limited on time, I would suggest that you go on this route because it lets you take in the entire area and understand this excellent place.

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park




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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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.



Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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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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