Thursday, September 20, 2012

(WESTERN) SAMOA

We left American Samoa on September 18th for an overnighter to (Western) Samoa. But we did not arrive until September 20th as we crossed the International Date Line! So we are now 1 day older than we should be. September 19th did not exist for us - we went straight from the 18th to the 20th as we travelled from east to west.

Any travellers going the opposite direction from west to east would gain 1 day - leaving on an overnighter on the 18th, they would arrive 1 day later but it would still be the 18th - I think we're going the wrong way! We heard someone on the HAM radio net saying that he was able to celebrate his birthday for 2 days instead of just 1.

Samoa switched time zones on December 29, 2011, to be in sync with New Zealand and Australia and in 1997 changed from being called Western Samoa to just Samoa, except on older globes or maps of course. But most people still refer to it as Western Samoa.

Dating back to about 1000 BC, Samoa is believed to have been inhabited from the west about 3,000 years ago. Consisting of 10 islands and 362 villages, Sea Turtle tied up to the marina docks on the Island of Upolu in Apia Harbour (S13°49.667' W171°45.565') on September 20th at 08:30 as anchoring is not allowed. Turtles were swimming in the harbour around the boats.

All officials arrived soon to check us in: Samoa Port Authority, Health and Quarantine services, Customs, and finally Immigration. As soon as we were all cleared in, we left for a refreshing walk to explore Apia, the capital city of Upolu, with a current population of around 35,000.

If you want to know where to find anything, first question to you is always Do you know where the clock tower is? and then directions are given from there.

Infamous clock tower

Another well-known landmark is the hotel Aggie Grey's which was a place for World War II GIs to rest.

Currency is Tala (dollars) and Sene (cents), currently being at the equivalent of about half: 1 Tala = about $0.50 USA. As all prices are indicated with the dollar sign, at first look you would think how expensive the item was until you remembered that it was in Tala and cost about one half the indicated price in USA dollars.

1 comment:

SOMA booking said...

Congratulations! We met you in Turtle Bay a few years back. We are planning a 2013 SPacific departure and came across your name in the 2012 listing. Stay safe, enjoy - we hope to see you out there.

Len & Erin Paul
s/v Maestro
Www.sailblogs.com/member/sailmaestro