American impressed with "aquarium-like" snorkelling experience

By Soli Wilson, 20 March 2019

First time visitor to Samoa Gary Gillespie doesn't regret choosing the country as one of his favourite destinations in the Pacific Islands.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the 50-year-old man from Provo in the US state of Utah said he is having a wonderful time and soaking in the hot and humid weather.

"Oh I love it, so beautiful. First time to come here and its awesome," he said. 

Staying at an AirBnB accommodation, Mr. Gillespie – who is a dental laboratory technician back in Utah – said he took a three months break from work to enjoy the humid weather of the Pacific Islands, and escape the winter back home.

"I get sick of America and you know its winter in Utah, lots of snow, and I said 6 months ago I’m not going to do winter again in Utah, I’m going to go to the Pacific," he said he told his family.

"[I] spent most of the first week and a half in Apia and on Thursday (last week) I’m renting a car and going to some of the people that I’ve met plus some of the people at AirBnB and we're going to go all the way around. I want to see the Tosua Trench and then the cave pools, Piula," he added.

Speaking of his first week spent snorkelling at Palolo Deep, Mr. Gillespie said it was like swimming in an aquarium.

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"Here you have the ocean, I spent a whole week at Palolo Deep snorkelling and it’s amazing it’s so beautiful, it’s like swimming in an aquarium, there’s nothing on the American coast or even Mexico that matches how beautiful the ocean is here," he said.

Before landing on our shores, Mr. Gillespie first stopped in American Samoa but admitted that he likes it here, so much more.

"I spent two weeks in American Samoa and I like it way better in Samoa than I did in American Samoa. The people here are a lot nicer and way more welcoming to tourists.

"American Samoa [doesn't] really have much tourism, but here a lot more welcoming everywhere you go. Friendlier, so I love the people, the weather, it’s a lot bigger and more places to go," he added.

Although he cannot say the same for the dogs that he has come across on his trip.

"What you could improve on – which is the same problem in American Samoa – is that there’s way too many dogs. The first week in American Samoa, I got bitten by a dog. 

"Most of them are nice but then some are kind of aggressive that just come up from behind you and want to...you know, it’s hard to really walk around a lot, whereas in the states there’s a very tight dog regulation," he said.

Mr. Gillespie is traveling alone in Samoa, but will meet up later with his girlfriend from Utah in Fiji. But for now,  he looks forward to his trip to Savai'i.

"After this, I’m going to Savai'i for three weeks and then I’m going to Fiji. My girlfriend from Colorado, she’s meeting me there in Fiji, so I took three months off from work and she said she’s just going to go to Fiji and I said I’m going to Samoa. 

"I could have went anywhere but I'm really grateful I came to Samoa. I'm hoping when I get home to tell and share with more people, how great Samoa is and how beautiful and how kind the people are; highly recommended," he added. 

By Soli Wilson, 20 March 2019

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