The fortunate planetary influences of 1973, guided me on to a new path that eventually brought me to the mystic Polynesian homeland of Savai'i. In the past I had already lived for some time in the Marquesas and Tahiti as well as visited Rarotonga, Fiji and the New Hebrides. This left Samoa as the next most likely place to visit in my search for paradise.
My plan on leaving Sydney was twofold, the first part was to sail on a luxury cruise ship. After my rustic adventures on old boats like the SS Caledonian and her sister ship the SS Tahitian, I wanted at least this part to be comfortable. Thus we booked tickets to American Samoa on P&O. Once we had arrived back in the Islands, I wanted to try camping in some remote part of Pago Pago. My plan of camping was only a rather vague one and on our arrival I looked around for transport to take us out of town. Eventually we got the bus to the end of the road, miles from town. From there we attempted to hike into the jungle which was very thick and soon I could see that things were not going as easily as I had imagined, and so we decided to head back to where we got off the bus and perhaps try something different although I didn't know what. As we arrived at the bus stop I spotted a young girl sitting in a near by meeting house (open fale). I asked her when the next bus was due and she said that it might be a long wait, but that her father was coming to pick her up and that we could get a ride back to town with them. Her father arrived soon after in a big black luxury car. He said that we were welcome to stay with him and on the way back casually informed us that he was the President of American Samoa. As I remember we did not stay with them very long, I explained my idea of back to nature camping and related my previous experiences in the Marquesas, and he soon said that we had come to the wrong Island, What I was looking for, we would find in Western Samoa, where people still lived in the old traditional way. Western Samoa was only a short ferry ride away and the next day he dropped us of at the boat to Apia the Capital.
Arriving in Apia is a bit vague in my memory, except that we booked into Grey's Hotel upon our arrival there as we had to apply for a visa to stay for more than two weeks, I remember that it seemed like trying to get into Russia (not that I ever tried to do that), the maximum stay was only three weeks! As soon as we got our visa we caught another Ferry, going this time to Savai'i, I cannot remember just why we headed there, but now in retrospect our destiny seemed certainly guided by fortunate circumstances. Savai'i was an amazing place, jungle and waterfalls straight out of a Tarzan movie. More incredible was the fact that within a few hours there, we bumped into an important chief who invited us to stay at his house in a beautiful location on the Southern part of the Island. Here we were treated like royalty for the whole of our stay. The chief welcomed us like family, I said that I wanted to build a house in the jungle just near to a waterfall, he agreed with this plan and took us to see the perfect place. The three weeks evaporated like they were only one. From Samoa we flew to Vancouver where I went right back into cabbing to get the money for the next trip, which for a time, was with the idea of building a house near the waterfall, however the reality was that getting a long term Visa for Western Samoa was fraught with difficulties. Further to this Samoa was very hot and humid and even though magnificently beautiful, living there wouldn't be all that comfortable. It was around this time that I started to formulate what I then called The Absolute Plan.
|I knew from my past experiences that I wanted to live in the Islands of the South Pacific, however I needed to find one that wasn't too hot, and that wasn't bug infested, and where the immigration laws would allow me to stay long term. I drew up a paper defining the parameters of this as yet unknown place that I called the Absolute Base. As well as a list of supplies that I would need to live there independently. At one point I decided that it might be possible to do this on a totally uninhabited small island near the tropics. I then proceeded to create this uninhabited rock on paper. My first brainwave was that most places like this are uninhabited because there is no or not enough water. With an abundant water supply you can transform even the most inhospitable rock into an earthly paradise, A good place in terms of climate would be an almost desert like, cooler climate, thus you would not count on rainfall even with a large collection surface. The obvious answer to this problem was a solar mirror distillery system. I started making the plans for this distillery system in March 1974. This was long before affordable personal computers and the internet. Today, you can find plans for such a thing in an instant with Google. However at the time it was a great pleasure for me to work on my own plans for the construction of a massive Solar mirror.|