I’m not sure who spoke first. After all, how often do you fly in silence because the stranger next to you has his/her own purpose for being there. Asking them why may seem awkward and intrusive. Eventually our silence was broken as we flue from Auckland, New Zealand to Fiji - it was March of 2011.
I can't say I could describe him now - I don't even know his name. But he is the reason I am now flying over the Pacific Ocean to see for myself if the beaches of Ofu Island are the most beautiful - just as he told me.
What I do remember about him is that he was a retired Doctor from Sweden. Then in his mid seventies (that’s a guess), he was spending several months each winter working at the LBJ Hospital in American Samoa. When time permitted, he would explore the many islands of the South Pacific. Who better to ask about life, culture and beaches - then him. There was one more interesting note about him. He explored these islands on his bike. Plane lands, bike quickly reassembled, backpack on and off you go to a new adventure. If you have toured some of these islands you would know that it’s hot, humid and the roads are often broken asphalt. Add the issue of dogs nipping at you as you cross their territory, and you have a fairly challenging way of traveling. I’m not sure at 75 years of age if I would be touring like this.
Because I didn’t think I would remember it later, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down his choice - the name of the island - Ofu. Then I put it in my wallet. Thinking about it once I realized that Ofu spelled backwards was Ufo. Every so often it fell out as I was reorganizing things in my wallet. The last time it fell out, I didn't want to put it back. It was time to plan my adventure to Ofu Island.
The trip planning to get to Ofu is not easy..
This is not a location that many people would attempt to travel to. It is a tiny speck in the heart of the South Pacific. The Lonely Planet Guidebook makes reference to the option of traveling to Ofu “ to get way from the beaten path - go the dazzling Manu’a Islands and you will find a Polynesia that’s authentic, adventurous and virtually untouristed “ Wikipedia has this info on Ofu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ofu-Olosega