Friday, September 14, 2012

AMERICAN SAMOA

On the second day of our passage from Suwarrow (Cook Islands), Sea Turtle chalked up another milestone: 20,000 nautical miles under her keel! For you land lubbers, that is about 40,000 kilometres or about 25,000 miles. Wow! It has been such a surpassing journey to date.

Our passage was very uneventful and much, much calmer than from Bora Bora to Suwarrow. Too calm in fact. We even had to motor the last day and a half.

The islands here are not surrounded by a reef like an atoll - but the coral (fringing coral) is against the island shores instead and there is no interior lagoon. The scene on approach is of tropical green mountains.

Five miles out, we detected the fish odour from the tuna processing facilities in the main harbour, Pago Pago, that we had heard about.

American Samoa in the distance

We have noticed as we move northwards that the sun is rising later in the morning and setting later in the evening; we set anchor at American Samoa (Pago Pago Harbour, Tutuila Island) on September 14th at 07:30 (S14°16.403' W170°41.767'), just as the sun was rising in very calm conditions. This meant that the boats in the anchorage were drifting around willy-nilly and we were not certain where anyone's anchor was; where we dropped ours at what we thought was a safe distance between other boats proved later to be no good as the subsequent winds stretched out an adjacent boat which then sat over our anchor float.

Soon the contrast between tropical beauty and a messy human element became evident. The debris in the harbour was a reflection of the rubbish on land. We were presented with the din of commerce as well as the wafting odours.

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