My last blog was from Savai’i, the wilder Island of Samoa, so I have quite a bit to catch up on because after a brief stop in (where the heck is) Wallis we have meanwhile arrived in Fiji.
Things were going a bit slow on Savai’i as Gaylyn got sick after having a pina colada (no, not what you think, only one) at a resort on shore. She started to fast which she kept up for almost 2 weeks and as always life turns a bit stale when Gaylyn is fasting. She spends most of her time lying in bed so we are not undertaking any major expeditions and I have to entertain myself.
We left Savai’i and sailed to the beautiful island of Wallis (200 nm east of Samoa) which I stumbled over when plotting the course from Samoa to Fiji. On arrival at Wallis it was blowing 30 knots from SE and the anchorage of Mata Utu, where you have to check in was untenable so we moved right on to the bay of Gahi.
Wallis is a French overseas territory which automatically implies that nobody speaks English. Luckily they do speak French there so I got along OK – Gaylyn was mostly the silent bystander which she did not overly enjoy. Only on the very last land trip we met the island Judge who was willing and able to speak English with us.
Wallis also is a bit special in that there is no public transport (no buses, no taxis) and that the internet is hard to find and bandwidth is at the level of a 9600 baud modem (about 1 kbyte/sec). It took 2 attempts to download the first 2 photos of Gaylyn’s brand new grandson Charlie.
To move around you have to hitchhike (some of the older readers might still remember how to do it), which works really well because the Wallisians are incredibly friendly, pick you up quickly and usually deliver you to where you want to go even if it is nowhere close to were they are actually heading. Also there are a lot of cars because the French take good care of their colonies – it seems everybody on the island owns a 4 wheel drive although it is completely unclear what the Island actually lives of as there is no tourism apart from a handful of visiting yachts. If you walk the streets in Wallis everybody stares at you – the art of walking seems to have been forgotten.
The wind kept on blowing rather hard for most of our time in Wallis and Gaylyn kept on fasting so we did not get much done. At least we managed to visit some of the outlying islands which are scattered over the rim reef of the lagoon. Wallis offers stunningly beautiful views over the lagoon specially in areal photos that you can see at the hairdresser in Mata Utu. We visited his shop accidentally because the guys in the souvenir shop next door told us we could get postcards there. Turns out the hairdresser sells everything from haircuts to photos, computer accessories and t-shirts. Coolest shop in Mata Utu. We bought a pair of Wallis t-shirts just to confuse all those who have never heard of the place.
Unfortunately the water in the lagoon is rather murky, so we found the snorkeling less good than you would expect. As the weather for the trip to Fiji looked rather challenging (sailing upwind with plenty of breeze and waves) I had to announce to Gaylyn that for the sake of safety on board we would have to stay in Wallis until she broke her fast and got stronger again. Gaylyn soon decided that she had had enough of fasting and of Wallis too and started eating again. So after checking out with the friendly gendarmes we left towards Fiji.