Amerikan Samoa 7/30/07 (Ginger)
We have been here two weeks tomorrow. We have scoped out the big stores (Ace Hardware, Cost-U-Less, True Value Hardware and Napa Auto) and have even had a soft serve ice cream from McDonalds. We have also gotten fish poisoning, spent 3 days at the hospital getting teeth cleaned and checkups, and made numerous trips to the internet cafe called DDW (Don't Drink the Water) and to the post office. We failed at our attempt to get books from Amazon, we know now to use "PO Box" at the beginning of the
address to get it sent by US Mail rather than by UPS. Our large package was denied by UPS even though all carriers leave their packages with the post office on this island. There is no door to door delivery, at all. We have enjoyed spending time with the crews from other boats in the bay. Two boats we met in the Marquesas are here and it's fun to catch up with both of them. While we wait for packages to arrive we're planning ahead to our stop in Apia, Western Samoa where we'll visit the grave
of Robert Louis Stevenson and hopefully see some of the South Pacific Games which start the last week of August. We also made a change to our plans for cyclone season. We had planned to go to Australia at the end of October but are now planning to go from Fiji or New Caledonia to New Zealand first. We'll stay there through February and then head to Australia and cruise up the east coast of Australia next fall/winter (Mar - June).
We have (knock on wood) been fortunate to have our anchor hold here despite the well deserved reputation of plastic bags covering the bottom of the bay. We did, however, participate in the rescue of a boat that wasn't so lucky with their anchoring spot. This boat had been anchored just behind us for a couple of days when a series of afternoon squalls piped up in the bay. Our anchor snubber line snapped in a 40 knot gust and Peter was on deck putting on a beefier line when he noticed this beautiful
boat with shiny paint drifting backwards just feet from a rusting hulk with it's mast sticking over the bow like a jousting spear. We announced over the VHF radio that we needed help and within seconds the crews from Paddy West's, Heidi and Marcy were fending off the hulk from the deck of the unfortunate dragging boat. We were finally able to tie the boat up to the rusty "floating anchor" with the aid of some huge fenders provided by Heidi. Not sure where they keep those fenders on their little
boat but they are quite impressive! The boat owners returned and made quick work of re-anchoring in an impressive drill through rain and gusts. It was a graphic display of how deserved the reputation is of this bay and how fast a boat can drag when the anchor lets go. When they hauled their anchor there was a plastic bag wrapped around it. The problems with the plastic bags here are not limited to anchoring. The bags also float at various depths and are prone to wrapping around outboard propellers
and getting sucked into water intake holes. The idea of swimming in this water to clear a plastic bag from our engine intake is not a pretty one!
Ashore we have met some very nice people and are enjoying exploring the island. The busses run all day until 6PM, Monday through Saturday. They are handy and entertaining. Each bus is decorated with personal flair and they all play loud music. Though this is American Samoa it seems very Pacific island and not very American. It seems like the main American influence is the litter. There are a few chain stores as mentioned above but for the most part this island is more like the rest of the South
Pacific islands we've visited than like any part of the US we've visited. Many of the signs and posters are only in Samoan, most of them are about politics or health. As it is summer vacation here, the kids are all out of school. Some of them are in programs such as swimming lessons at the public beach or weaving at the museum. Many other kids roam the streets in small groups and they especially like to hang out at the dinghy dock. We haven't had too many problems leaving our dinghy ashore on
this trip and we tend to return to the boat before dark. A couple of days ago we had the hand water pump in the dinghy because of all the rain. Well, you guessed it.. no more water pump for Marcy. The next morning Peter went ashore for a quick trip to the internet cafe and no more flip flops for me either! These days we're taking the outboard key with us when we leave the boat and of course, leaving nothing in it when we go.
Today Peter took off the boom and fitted new washers in the gooseneck. Hopefully that will keep the moving parts happy and quiet. He also fixed the stanchions we broke on our way here and he's been bringing jugs of diesel and water out to the boat. I've been sorting out extra stuff, taking inventory of our food and tidying up the boat. As the days tick by it's hard to figure out where the time went. Hopefully by the time we leave here we'll have a lot to show for our efforts.
Labels: 2007 - 07 American Samoa