The Island Nation of Samoa



My relationship with beautiful Samoa is so intimate and passionate that it is not uncommon that in my dreams I find myself transformed to Samoa at one of my favorite spots, having a conversation with any one of many of my favorite people.  Last night was one of those significant events.  When I awakened my thoughts continued and I couldn’t get on with the normal business of the day.  There was something nagging at me that demanded more action than just a casual brush-off.  IRead More

Deciding to remain in Samoa


The schooner Casco was fast, built for racing, and they made landfall in the Marquesas, the north-east extremity of French Polynesia, after only a month, on 28 July 1888. The voyage from San Francisco was a time of “glad monotony” that Stevenson found stimulating. He felt “delightedly conscious”. Day after day the air had the same indescribable liveliness and sweetness. I was aware of a spiritual change; or perhaps, a molecular reconstitution. My bones were sweeter to me.” That autobiographical intimacy he put into TheRead More

A hard, interesting and beautiful life: Vailima, SAMOA

tusitala family group photo

Back in Britain they tended to blame Fanny for the loss of their famous friend (presumably on the grounds that she was American) but that seems unjust. Her role and skills were always in operations, turning his imaginings into action. His statement that opens In the South Seas (1) is entirely personal, and he was markedly consistent in explaining in his letters the decision to stay. His reasons were medical, financial, temperamental and literary. Medically, he needed warmth and clear air for his lungs, evenRead More

Our forest house, our island helpers: Vailima, SAMOA

tusitala homestead

The four years at Vailima have become literary legend. They are described in Stevenson’s letters in firsthand accounts by Fanny, Belle, Maggie, Austin, Graham Balfour (a visiting cousin) and HJ Moors, and in almost innumerable biographies and travel books. The present section’s purpose is primarily literary, seeking to illustrate how well Stevenson wrote about the Pacific rather than explain in detail how he lived there. It was a considerable achievement and a huge amount of work to transform Vailima into the gracious grounds and vitalRead More