Fishing for reef, hunting for new dive sites in Samoa!
Apia - Discovering New Dive Sites in Samoa
Diving in Samoa, previously called Western Samoa, is quite unique. There are only a few dive centers in this small country in the South Pacific, there are no dive centers in American Samoa. How interesting is diving in Samoa compared to other countries in the South Pacific?
Are the dive areas undiscovered and intact or is it just not that interesting for diving compared to other destinations in the South Pacific?
By doing some research online you find out the 'famous' dive spots Apolima Gardens and The Rock are losing corals and bleaching is clearly visible. We had to find out for ourselves of course!
We organized the fun dives a bit different. Since Aqua Samoa is quite new in the Apia area there are many spots along the coast to discover. We went out to explore new dive sites, without a dive map and without a depth gauge on the boat - how adventurous!!! To be honest, after many expensive fun dives with tight schedules and maximum dive times I was so happy to have more freedom and making the dive plan together.
The area was mapped so we knew where about we should be able to find some reef. We dropped a piece of weight on the reel from the SMB (Surface Marker Buoy) to see if it would touch ground at some point while slowly cruising. At one point we could actually see the reef from the boat, meaning it was less than 20 meters deep since the visibility could not be higher due to the circumstances. Time to jump in and explore!
|Country||Samoa, a country in the South Western Pacific|
|Dive area name||Apia, Upolu Island|
|Dive center||Aqua Samoa|
|Famous for||Underwater landscape!|
|Price||Day trip with 2 dives and full equipment rental: 340 Tala (134 US dollar)|
|Hotel recommendation||Hotel Millenia Samoa|
With the reef, a big pinnacle, as reference we dropped down to 16 meters. We chose a direction, reef of the left, and swam along the boulders, pinnacles and rocks. Many overhangs and swimtroughs were 'available' and it was beautiful!
Diving is definitely different around here, it is all about the underwater landscape. There are tons of swimthroughs, small pinnacles and caves which makes the bottom structure very interesting. Some are very wide and light, easy accessible for all level divers, others are narrow and dark without direct surface access - only for divers that manage their buoyancy very well. It is just amazing to crawl and slide over, under and through the loops of mother nature. The average depth is about 15-20 meters and as soon as you go shallower than 10 meter you can feel the swell.
Exploring new dive sites around Apia, Samoa.
One turtle, one eagle ray, one barracuda, one nudibranch, one trumpetfish, one angelfish, one giant clamp, one parrotfish, one grouper, one puffer, etc. It is not bustling of life, but that is not the highlight around Apia as mentioned before. Especially for learning how to dive, this is a great place to start your underwater adventure. For very experienced (or spoiled) divers, it is less interesting - apart from the rock formations.
Marine life around Apia, Samoa.
About the organization of Aqua SamoaAqua Samoa has moved from the Faleolo Airport area to Apia. It might be a bit hard to actually find the dive shop since it is hidden behind a local bar, but - next to Paddles restaurant (high ranked on Tripadvisor!). Being the longest operating dive center in Samoa I was a bit surprised by the looks of this shop. It looks more like a maintenance area than a dive center, but you can find all the information you need. In the garden there is a shipping container which is used for equipment repair and as the compressor area. Ted is the friendly Australian owner of Aqua Samoa and he will help you to sort out your needs. You can also rent scooters here, great for island exploring.
The diving happens from a flat deck boat without benches which is really spacious. There is a small toilet room where the ladies can change. The 2-tank trips leave in the morning and return at lunchtime. There is a shower and changing facility at the dive center. Dive site and boat briefing is provided as well as emergence/safety equipment and water on board. Bring your own towel and snacks.
Aqua Samoa in Apia
Comparing dive destinations
|Bottom structure||Reef structure||Pelagic
(big stuff in the blue)
(bigger stuff on the reef)
(small stuff on the reef)
|Flat bottom with bumps/big rocks/pinnacles||Hard corals tree-shape
|Slope (going down slowly)||Soft corals tree-shape
|Rays||Eels/snakes||Sea horses and pipe fish||Small
(you can easily swim against it)
(steep but you see the bottom)
(you can swim against it for a little while/higher air consumption)
(steep and you can't see the bottom)
(you cannot swim against it)
|Sponges||Sardines/herrings||Puffers||Shrimps||Pumping/washing machine/OMG/hold your regulator
* The transparent boxes are the things I have seen down below and / or are spotted on almost every dive in that area.
* The dark blue boxes are the 'things' that are unavailable - things I have not seen and/or that are uncommon in that area.Click here for more information about comparing dive destinations.
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Dive o'clock "It's dive o'clock somewhere!"
Dive o'clock "It's dive o'clock somewhere!"
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