The women of Satuiatua wave goodbye as I set off on what will be the last – and longest – day of my journey. Fifty-three kilometres, curving around Cape Asuisui, then along the south coast to Salelologa where I started.
Once again, I thought the road would be flat and it isn’t. A long slow hill to start, through plantations and farms and waving palm trees, to the town of Taga. The dogs are frisky, first three farm dogs that run out on the road to bark at me, then a scruffy brown and white dog that looks like it has crawled through several hedges backwards.
The journey to Taga takes ages. The morning is young, the sun lukewarm, yet the hills extract a price. Sweat, sweat and sweat, as Churchill didn’t say about the beaches or fighting. He was never a cyclist though. He went everywhere in a Daimler.
After Taga, the road runs along the south coast. White waves crash onto black lava rocks. Mountains hide behind trees and bush. Pigs wander out randomly onto the road, while horses glance up pensively from grazing. The road meets a beautiful section of coastline with a perfect line of palm trees and a small lagoon. This is the same place where we stopped three weeks ago in the car and a youth sprang out to ask if we intended to take photos. Thankfully he’s not here today. His watch-post fale is empty.
Past the airstrip at Maota, and two policemen sheltering in the shade, ready to jump out and stop cars. Then at Savai’i’s only set of traffic lights, I turn right, back into Salelologa: the same street I’d cycled up only five days before.
My moment of triumph!
Officially I have cycled all the way around the island.
Except with sweat dripping from my face, and my water bottle nearly empty, I’m more interested in finding my accommodation and getting something cold to drink. A Coke-cola, a Fanta, Vailima beer, anything really.
Celebration is not a priority. Rehydration is.