Asau, Sava’I, Samoa, 6/1/2018, National Geographic Orion
National Geographic Orion
French Polynesia & Pacific Islands
Today National Geographic Orion arrived on the shores of the beautiful island of Savaii, the largest of the Samoan islands. Sparsely populated, Savaii is a place of tradition and ceremony, where the old ways of fa’a Samoa are still celebrated. Fa'a Samoa is the practice of traditional values and an integral part of Samoan life. Time-honored traditions and a genuine warm hospitality are part of the fa’a Samoan culture.
Our island exploration introduced us to a Samoan kava ceremony and a local cultural dance. We tasted some of the delicious village homegrown food. We also experienced a pleasant morning in the forest where guests that were up for a challenge braved a bridge at canopy walk. All topped by a refreshing swim in a warm enticing ocean followed by a tropical dive!
Cristiana was born and raised in Brazil. Being surrounded by natural beauty and diverse culture instilled her desire for exploration at a young age. Her passion for wilderness, different cultures and inhospitable regions led her to pursue a career ...
National Geographic Orion anchored in the calm waters of a remote Polynesian paradise. Swaying palm trees and fragrant Alexandrian laurels shaded an idyllic white sand beach on Alofi Island, overlooking the alluring azure seas. In the space of one day, we enjoyed the sights of dazzling reef fish, abundant and native birdlife, fun with kayaks and standup paddleboards, and a traditional feast prepared with warmth and hospitality by our friendly hosts. All this colorful majesty was captured brilliantly by our talented videographer, Eric Wehrmeister, who chronicled the adventures with aerial quadcopters, capturing the memories of a lifetime.
Today, we enjoyed the stunning island of Taveuni, both above and below the water. In the morning, it was all about the rainforest and waterfalls. A gorgeous hike led to an incredible viewpoint and a massive waterfall. The water was refreshing, and a nice jump into the pool was enjoyed by many. In the afternoon, it was all about the ocean. Whether by snorkeling, diving, or tours in the glass-bottomed Zodiac, we experienced a beautiful reef with clouds of fish. Sunny skies and calm seas made it a perfect afternoon. Soon, however, it was time to head off and say goodbye, or “moce,” to Fiji.
The first day of our expedition in Fiji was spent at the island of Beqa. In the morning, we visited a small village and were expertly guided by some of the locals. It was fascinating to experience life in a small village and view the local crafts for sale, including tapa cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and various intrinsic wood carvings. In the afternoon, we returned to Lawaki Beach House, a small resort. We were welcomed with the amazing singing of a colorful community choir. This was followed by a beautiful performance by members of neighboring villages on the grassy area in front of the resort. First, women performed a series of dances accompanied by music and singing. Then, six men came out and gave a spectacular performance depicting their origin in the islands and their defense of them. This was certainly a very dynamic performance that included a mock battle. After the men performed, everyone joined in the singing and dancing and had a lot of fun. It was great to see guests, staff, villagers, and children all join hands and dance in a conga line! After a short break, we moved to a different part of the shaded lawn to wait for the firewalkers. Tropical rain came and went as a group of men came out to remove huge logs from a fire that had been burning all day. They wedged the burning logs out with long pokers, revealing the hot rocks below and eventually arranging them to be walked upon. Then the real action began as one after another, the men walked slowly across the rocks, yelling ‘Bula’ every time. It was a mesmerizing performance. After each man walked across, the crowd erupted in applause.