Piula Caves (Fatumea) of Western/Independent Samoa are not just stunning but memorable...if you are willing to take the challenge.
In 2013 the last week of July, my family and I went to Samoa for family business and on the last day, we went around the island to see some of the sights.
These caves are beneath a Methodist Churcha at Piula Theological College. There's a fee to pay to swim but make sure to be respectful and keep clothed while on the grounds and wear your swimsuit only in the pools.
These caves are actually two caves that are connected by a small itty bitty underwater pathway and if this were the US, it'd be shut down because it wasn't OSHA and ADA compliant/certified etc.
Needless to say, you could get hurt.
Well, my husband and I went into these caves to snorkel and check out but we had NO idea where the opening was and just walked back and forth from one cave to the other. It seemed that one cave had a definite end to it and the only way to get out was either through the entrance or at the cave opening.
I'm scared of caves, underwater passages, drowning, dark spaces, tight spaces and death.
Pretty much everything that you can think of, that cave had it so we carefully swam toward the back of one of the caves where the exit was a definite wall and a definite opening at the bottom, entering into the other cave. (The other cave was confusing because you would swim past the hole and not realize it but it still extended back)
We had almost given up on trying to do it but for some reason be got ballsy and decided, it's now or never and we'll definitely regret it (In hindsight, yeah, we would have)
We used the cave that was easy to find the exit and it was pretty clear where the exit was because the light from the other shone though the back where there shouldn't have been any.
I was the strongest swimmer of the two so after our eyes adjusted to the lighting, I held my breath and examined how deep it was to get to the hole.
After that, I caught my breath and I dove to the hole and looked through it to see if it was a tunnel or if it was a long way to the surface of the water etc.
Also not bad.
I caught my breath again and dove to the hole, slightly through it to have a good look-see and gauge if I can get to the surface.
I could and I did.
When I went through the hole to look at the water level, I knew I had enough breath left to make it to the other side so I did just to prove it can be done.
That part was scary!
I also had to get back before my husband was going to freak out and so I took a big breath - because at this point, I knew I could make it - and went back under.
It was definitely one of the scariest things I've ever done and conquered but now I had to convince my husband it was doable as well.
Each time I went down, he would also go down with me to keep an eye on me a bit and then come back up for air except the last time. When I came back to the other side where he waited, I knew he was nervous but he was definitely relieved.
I coached him on what to do since he saw where the hole was and how to just push yourself against the rock to propel you to the surface.
He calmed down and I went first and he followed closely behind me.
I stayed down a bit to watch and make sure he came through the hole and we both swam to the surface.
He also proclaimed that to the scariest thing he's done.
On a different note, the caves have a lovely fish pond - don't eat the fish - that you can swim with and the water is so clear you can see them as though looking through glass.
You can see me and sorta see that fishes. There are too many ripples but it is still a very pristine body of water.