It’s a school holiday, so what better activity is there to do than go scuba diving? Since I was going to Upolu, I decided to join a group diving over there….and did not realize that they were still filming a television show.
The problem with the dive shop in Upolu is it is a loooooong walk from the main road, so to prevent myself from doing that walk, I do the beach walk. The beach walk involves walking on several uneven boulders, trying to avoid a barbed wire fence for balance, walking next to the golf course and then you are there.
When I go to the area of Aggie Gray’s famous hotel, I saw several trailers, and that was my cue that Survivor Samoa was still taking place. (It feels like they have been filming for too many months for such a short show.) I went right over and sat on the deck of the porch of the dive shop to wait for them to open. I saw a few people walking in and out of the production trailers. And then the security guard came over…I think he was startled at how I was able to get in without going through the main security at the entrance to the hotel.
I was thrilled when the dive shop opened and we were able to leave the production site. Our dive was great as we scuba dove next to Manono Island. We heard whales singing, saw giant eagle rays, huge butterfly fish, turtles, a fish that was almost my size and much more. I used to complain about the lack of diving here in Samoa, but I now realized that I was somehow just going to the same dive sites over and over again. There really is more out there which made me happier. (My goal is to go out diving three more times before December so I am able to hit the elusive 50 dive mark.)
When we arrived back at our dock, we saw the Survivor crew waiting….waiting for us to come back. (I had heard that they wanted to plan when our boat is allowed back which is difficult to do, as none of us wanted to be out there all day in the sun, or shorten our dives significantly.) They were all gathered on the dock in preparation for something, I learned later one of their reward trips. Next to the dock was a big van. The van had those aluminum looking car shade windows on all windows to prevent anyone from seeing out or in. (I had heard about it from the last filming of Survivor, but it was interesting to actually see it.) The people at dive shop told us that the contestants had been waiting in the car for hours already.
When they were ready for the contestants to go on their boat outing, someone approached us all, and told us to go physically inside the dive shop and we were not allowed to be on the porch. She was very rude and curt with us. I am glad that the owner stood up for us and said that we were paying guests on their property, and they cannot stop their customers from being on the deck.
While we waited to leave, we heard a few horror stories about how some of the crew members have treated the people and tourists of Samoa. I know that the key to the show is having the people live in isolation, but when the contestants are staying in between two popular resorts, it is difficult to stop the actual tourists from doing what they enjoy. When the wind blows a kite board a little too much, and it ends up in the shot of one of the cameras, it is not the tourists fault. The tourist should not be yelled at and told they cannot do the activity they enjoy while being in Samoa. The crew should not threaten the nearby villages with their water because of this tourist’s actions.
I know it must be difficult for the television show to find the perfect location for the show, a location close enough to a (posh) resort for all of the crew to stay at, while maintaining privacy for the contestants….but there are still uninhabited islands out there, especially in Samoa. If you want to make sure that people are not disturbing the contestants, maybe it would be best to go there.
On a side note, someone told me the next day that a boat zoomed past the Samoan ferry, almost causing an accident. When the boat was described to me it sounded like the Survivor boat I saw the previous day.