Four weeks in American Samoa, Tutuila Island
After reading Dave’s previous post with his very raw notes from our passage - I feel the need to emphasize how much fun we’ve been having since. As mentioned to us by another cruising couple it is important to check in on the fun to suck ratio. Our time and most importantly the people we met in American Samoa definitely balanced out this ratio.
It did take two weeks to recover. Dave mentioned our rashes - his healed up quite nicely and quickly, mine on the other hand landed me at the LBJ Medical Center for antibiotics. Apparently staph infections amongst cruisers in the tropics are not that unusual. A 10 day course of antibiotics and good as new .. just a few scars as a reminder. AND $20 to see the DR and $40 for oral and topical antibiotics -no insurance required.
Our first day we met Pam and Eric who host a cruisers pot luck every Sunday on their beautiful catamaran Pied a Mer. This was the most fantastic way to meet the others in the anchorage and talk story. Pam and Eric are working on getting their mast and rig back up after a dismasting south of Pago Pago. They are nearly ready and we hope they catch us in Tonga or Fiji before the end of the season.
We met so many other great cruisers who I look forward to running into again over the next few months…Esther Frances, Apex Predator, Summer, Westy, Love, Zensation, Kuan Yin, Bella Chao, Tiki, Counting Stars, Aloha caught up with us too… just to name a few…
American Samoa is the stop all cruisers say they love to hate..the anchorage, a natural well protected harbor is really quite beautiful - however the holding is well known as terrible, the cannery across the way wafts fishy smells on the right breeze, the power plant is brighter than the sun at certain angles even in the middle of the night, and come to find out some cruisers have absolutely no anchoring etiquette (just ask Dave about Two Moons). That is the bad. The good I believe far outweighs with awesome people, excellent provisioning options, US mail, and as US citizens we’re welcome to stay as long as we like. The island itself is beautiful and stunning and though not set up for tourism I would encourage a visit.
Highlights of exploring the island include a Samoan feast at Tisa’s Barefoot, First Friday at the market in Fagatogo, snorkeling at Sadie’s, pizza at Paradise Pizza, and a ferry trip out to Aunu’u.
Just riding the bus around for $2 was a great tour. And the buses… well pictures say it all.
We also met Kat - she was on the island working for FEMA and became such a big part of our stay. Adventures included a drive out to Fagamalo, hiking in the National Park and of course $2 Beach (which was really $5), not to mention sampling all the Samoan style chips and junk food. Kat is awesome and we even spent one night at Sadie’s hotel because of her awesomeness. Did I mention warm showers??
I feel its necessary to mention the WiFi situation. I was very much not impressed, and must say miss Mexico cruising a bit. When we first arrived it was known that McDonald’s had a decent WiFi connection. It was a very nice air conditioned WiFi lounge and who can resist a McDonald’s breakfast? Unfortunately they cut off their WiFi access soon after we arrived. This very much saved some of my figure :-) However the other options were slow and expensive. We did end up getting a SIM card and the data was ok as long as you were fine without downloading some new movies. This in part could be why we might be behind a bit in these blog entries. As a side note Tonga is actually worse….
Because we were staying in an American territory the US Postal Service was able to accept our mail forwarding at general delivery without much trouble or cost. We found out we did get the full deposit back from our apartment and the marina slip - more beer $$$ for us. Because it was so easy to receive this package we thought an order from West Marine would be a breeze. We needed a few parts to make a better fix for charging our devices on the boat. Well we thought wrong, in their infinite wisdom West Marine decided to ship UPS (very different than USPS) and it took quite some tracking down on our part to find out where in the world this package would arrive. A few phone calls and trips to the airport later and we received our package just in time - the Friday of our check out.
Check out was not nearly as painful as checking in, it did cost a bit. Costs they failed to mention up front but what can you do and it really could have been much worse.
We visited the harbor master, the cashier at the harbor, customs and immigration.
Check In / Check Out
- $100 (customs)
- $50 (rat and pest cert at arrival)
- $58 (port)
- $40 (immigration).
For four weeks not bad. If it was a shorter stay this would seem a bit steep.
Now off to Tonga, and we have a buddy boat as Kuan Yin is headed the same way leaving the same day, 19 August 2018. We're off to the Vava’u group!