Culture, sailing and rubbing shoulders with a Samoan rugby legend

Aussie couple, Ricky and Mary Tuck found the perfect escape from their stressful jobs in Samoa. 

The Dear Tourist team met them walking in the hot sun in Apia yesterday.

Married for 37 years, they moved from New Zealand and have lived in Tasmania for three years. This trip to Samoa was through a promotional trip made possible with the purchase of a new house back at home.

It is their first time in Samoa. They have been to Rarotonga together before and Ricky grew up in Papua New Guinea until the age of 16.

 “We always wanted to come to Samoa. It has always been on my list of places to go. It is just a place I am interested in,” Ricky said.

 “We definitely are going to go more around the Pacific area here and explore other islands as well.

 “It’s been a long time since I have been in Papua New Guinea, so we haven’t been back there. But there are some differences between here and Rarotonga.

 “Rarotonga is a lot tighter, touristy, and commercialised. From what we pick up from there it seemed to be almost more tourists than locals, where here we’re all surrounded by locals. I think both are nice to have. It is absolutely fine here so far.

 “I think in Rarotonga there is not as much traffic on the road. The roads have been better there; the roads here don’t seem to be in good condition.”

Mary explained: “Some of the taxi drivers don’t know the places you want to go to, so we had to show them on Google map.”

Ricky added: “This was surprising because you think they would know.

 “I think they’re probably missing out some opportunities here in tourism. It doesn’t have to be commercialized. What we found good in Rarotonga was that there have been beautiful spots everywhere, where you can go to a café or restaurant to sit down. 

 “I have been reasonably pleased with how cheap the taxis are. It does not cost much, compared to renting a car, you mostly take a taxi here.

 “The buses look like good fun and is probably a good way to meet the locals too,” he said.

Meeting locals is an important part of their experience here.

 “We have met a few locals and one of them took us out sailing yesterday (Thursday). It is more interesting for us to meet the locals and actually see the things with them. This is a better way for us than going with organised tours,” Ricky explained.

“It is always the people that you remember, the ones who say hello to you and smile or tap you on the back. We appreciate that,” Mary said. 

 “The people are really friendly, I like that. I think they are just very nice people and that is what makes it nice to come to Samoa. The people take you as you are,” Ricky added.

 “It opened my eyes to see the people with just what they have and what they are living with,” Mary said.

 “I think there must be quite a large salary range, when you look at the paper, there is a house to rent for $6,000 a month, but somebody must be able to pay that,” Ricky said. 

Ricky is a huge rugby and All Black fan and arranged a guided tour with former All Black player, Va’aiga Lealuga ‘Inga’ Tuigamala, is also known as Inga the winger, to go around Samoa.

 “He is running a business and when we got the chance to go with someone famous to see the island, that was amazing,” Ricky said.

 “We haven’t done much, so we hope to see a lot more in the next few days,” Mary said.

The purpose of their trip is to both relax and explore.

 “We want to see a lot, but relaxing is definitely part of our stay here,” Ricky said.

The couple is staying at the Taumeasina Island Resort and will leave the island on Thursday.

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