One great thing about having a visitor is that it gives you the excuse to do everything you always wanted to do but never justified finding time for. Anna had told me all about her adventures riding elephants and paddling through floating villages, so I felt the pressure to impress her with Samoa’s natural wonders. Flipping through the tourist pamphlets I have acquired over the past few years, one activity sprung out at me: Dwarfs Cave.
The history of Dwarfs Cave is a bit unclear, and it seems that every person who goes there will be told a slightly different tale as to its past. From what we gathered, Dwarfs Cave is really an expansive lava-tube, formed during the 1904-1911 eruption. The legend states that since it is so long, no person has ever been to the end of it. At one time or other, it is believed that 30 “Eskimos,” lived in this underground layer, feasting at the impressive flat table located just a few minutes inside the cave and bathing in its natural, muddy pools. Although a believable story from the size of the cave, there seems to be no evidence of humans ever having lived in the space.
On a Tuesday afternoon, Anna and I, along with two of my top students Pisi and Sapi, met up with two of the other Peace Corps Ali and Jenny, to check out the cave. Our “tour guide” (some man from the village), dubbed himself the cave man, and led the way through the cave, making sure we got as dirty as possible along the way. The caves have no light, neither natural or brought in, so it was up to us to carry flashlights to guide us on our journey. This proved a bit challenging as the path led us up and down step inclines of muddy rock and through pools waist deep of silt and mud. However we endured and made it to the farthest pool before turning back for the adventure out.
Having just finished reading The Hobbit (in anticipation of the movie release!), I found myself looking around for Gollum, as this cave could easily have been his home. I hope Peter Jackson was able to make the trip out here before filming those scenes! There was not much life down in the caves, other than a few bats. Probably the scariest part of the adventure was shining the flashlight onto the walls of the cave and noticing the large cracks, assumedly formed from recent earthquake activity. I am glad to say we made it out alive, a little bruised and beaten, but overall successful in our exploration.
To celebrate, Anna and I took the girls out for pizza at the local pizzerias (Sekia Pizza). It was a great field trip and I am so glad that we found the time to tackle this cool site. For anyone planning a trip to Samoa, Dwarfs Caves are a must!