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To Sua Ocean Trench

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to sua ocean trench
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The world is full of swimming holes, but few compare to Samoa’s idyllic To Sua ocean trench.  For a start, it has to be one of the most unusual places to swim on the planet. The 30-metre, almost perfectly symmetrical swimming hole surrounded by lush vegetation sits in the middle of a lava field near Lotofaga village atop a jutting edge of spectacular coastline on the south coast of Samoa’s main island of Upolo. To Sua literally means ‘Giant Swimming Hole’. The hole was formed during an ancient lava eruption when the land around it slipped away. It consists of two large holes joined by a lava tube cave. The main hole or the pool is filled with seawater and is connected to the ocean by an underwater cave. A series of canals leading from the pool to the South Pacific Ocean ensure the hole is never dried out.

This is considered one of planet’s most captivating swimming sites. The green landscape is matched by crystal clear waters, an abundance of tropical fish and a sandy bed. The views from above To Sua are beyond magical, but to fully experience The Trench takes some careful footwork down a slippery, wooden ladder. A set of concrete stairs leads you down from the top of the rim. From there you climb down the ladder for the final journey into the water. Some bravehearts choose to jump from the moss and palm-fringed sides of the rim instead. You can join them and show some of your acrobatic moves or you can simply watch with wide eyes as they jump in the deep waters and bob up a few seconds later in the big hole.

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Once you are down floating in that turquoise water, the view looking up is just as spectacular. The moss and vines hanging from the steep cliffs above add to the unique feel of the entire experience. I don’t know what is it about the lakes (or a big hole in this case) in the middle of a jungle. They always remind me of Tarzan. The water in the trench is warm and full of fish, so bring your snorkeling mask and you’ll be able to see heaps of colourful wildlife. Depending on the tide there can be a bit of a current in the trench. You will see a rope which has been suspended midway across the water hole to hold onto so you can avoid being pulled towards underwater tunnels into the pounding surf outside. But there are few daring ones who want to explore a bit more. The cave that leads to the open sea is frequented by skilled divers. What a beautiful haunting experience it would be!

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The hole is actually located in a park-like setting, and you need to pay a small fee to enter the area. You can easily spend a whole day floating blissfully in the crystal clear water, listening to the soothing sound of the water softly rippling around you. But there is more to see in the park beside the trench. Overlooking the ocean is a small beach known as Fagaoneone meaning white sand. It is a perfect escape from the crowds you usually see in the trench.

Or you can also explore the nearby lava pools. These are just a couple of metres away and right by the sea. The shallow water is even warmer than the water in the hole, and there are some great natural things to explore. The lava field has blowholes, mini pools and good fishing spots. While the tide is coming in water sprays up high in the air through blowholes in the rocks, and during high tide, the lava fields turn into rock pools with little channels that you can swim in.

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A trip to Samoa really isn´t complete without visiting the To Sua Ocean Trench, because if you miss it, you´ve missed out on one of the most amazing spots in the country. To Sua is a truly unique place – swim, snorkel, jump from the viewing platform, and mingle with the fish. Indulge in nature photography, wander the beautiful gardens or just sit back and relax with the panoramic ocean views. Enjoy the lapping water, the dappled sunshine and the distant thunder of crashing surf.

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