Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bus trip to the North Shore of American Samoa

Today we took a bus trip to the North side of American Samoa. Since we plan to leave in a day or two, it is time to be a tourist!

We had a nice big breakfast at the DDW Cafe ("Don't Drink the Water") then back to the bus stop. The buses here are all converted vans and trucks. One day the bus said "Aerostar" on the dash! but most are old flat bed pickups and trucks.
That's Trinda on the far left.

This is the inside of our bus. There is only one bus for Vitia Village on the North shore in the park. So we waited an hour (15 minutes local time!) for it to arrive and get ready to return. The inside of this one is just painted wood. Some are very nicely varnished! Not the interior you expect. But they ALL have the big amps on the boom box CD player!

I got several pictures of trees out the window of the bus, but finally got Pago Pago Bay. The Katie Lee is next to the white speck in the far back right of the bay!

Cooks Comb is what the charts call this rock. A lady on the bus says "You have to count 6 waves then go fast so you can take the boat through the pass, but if you count wrong, the boat gets full of water!". I don't think we'll take the Katie Lee through there!

From the brochure:
Vaiava Straight National Landmark as seen from the Vatira road through the National Park. The 130 metre high cliffs are home to many sea birds including frigates, boobies and white terns.

The bay from the bus stop in Vitia. We had a nice visit with Pola and Oso who operate the store and take out in Vitia called the VP Store. They make good hamburgers and chili dogs!

It was a very nice day being a tourist instead of working on the boat or shopping for parts and supplies!

We walked out to the beach where we could see Cook's Comb up close. Notice the arches in the cliffs. Its not me or the camera, the top looks fuzzy in person too!

Pago Pago Market Bar-b-que

A few days ago I had a few beers at the market place. John and Michele, from the boat Canondale, were invited to a going away party. I went along. This is Polu with them. One night John's dinghy came loose. He noticed an hour or so later it was missing and called for help. I picked him up and we went down wind looking for it. When we got to the end of the bay, it was banging on the rocks with no motor, gas tank or oars! They were neatly stacked on shore next to Polu's truck. He is the watchman for the market. He saw the dinghy banging on the rocks and got the motor off before it was damaged.

John went back the next day to properly thank Polu. They became good drinking friends!

After the Bar-b-que and a few (too many) beers. Our boats may be in the background.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lone Motu

This rock stands just off the road to Fatuna where we shop.
I'm just testing the ability to upload photos from the radio.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Doctors and all

We heard that the hospital here was really purty good and cheap. So, off we go. Trina needs her lab tests to ensure the dosages of her drugs are still good and I haven't had a checkup in a loooong time.

The LBJ Tropical Medicine Center is close to the anchorage. We got ID cards as 'aliens' free and easy, "Just fill out this form then pay your $10 over there." That's $10 US for each office visit. So off we go to the Primary Care. Trinda asks for her blood work and I ask for a physical and teeth cleaning. Back to pay the $10 each for the lab tests and for the dental clinic. Also $10 for the Surgery Clinic to remove a mole. Then back in line in the offices. Trinda's meds are fine. He says my health
is better than when we left Seattle, but my tests aren't all back yet.

The teeth cleaning went ok I guess, I think the girl was new, it hurt. And they scheduled me for a filling and I also chipped my bridge. I went back again. Before they started they said I had an unpaid $35 bill from yesterday??? Seems the $10 is for the room and the doctor charges beyond that. But it is still VERY reasonable. He can't find the cavity the other dentist saw, even with a new X-ray. So he knocks $10 off the bill since I had to pay to get in and all. Then I point to the bridge and he
spends all of 5 minutes adding and shaping a small patch in the proper color to it! No more mention about the bill!

Today I went back for the mole removal. Got there at 8:30 to pay the $10 and get in line for 10:00. At noon, I finally get called to be told that I was supposed to have a consultation first so he could plan the procedure, only 15 minutes, but time for the antiseptic to work. So come back next Tuesday for a real appointment, not get in line and not pay again. So I worry about GOING UNDER THE KNIFE ALL WEEKEND NOW! Not really but he will take a couple of stitches and I'll have to have him take them
out a few days later. That means we'll be here another week. Still no idea of the final bill, but it won't be much.

Oh and Trinda asked for prescriptions for her stuff, for 6 mos. "Only 3 months max" but the total bill was $65 for the 3 months plus a prescription for her Zantax heart burn stuff. The same pills were $600 in Mexico and over $1000 in Seattle, so we aren't complaining yet. And they are all brand name, no generics.

I got some more packages yesterday, but none today from the 'Express Mail' plane. I have hopes for the 'Cargo' flight tonight that I can pickup tomorrow morning. Lets see, I got the laptop battery and charger, our paper mail forwarded (thanks Mary Sue), HAM radio parts, the 'boat store order'(navigation chart chip for radar, toilet repair kit, hose, windlass switch and more fans) and the Amazon book order. Just waiting on the watermaker switch, dried eggs, green chilies, Guy's wedding DVD, memory
card for radar, and new better inverter.

I probably forgot to mention that the neighboring boat talked Trinda into getting a 'portable ice machine'. Just like the one in your fridge, but it sets on the counter. It makes 12 cubes every 6 minutes after it warms up (or cools down). So the plan is to run it while I charge the batteries for an hour every few days and make a quart baggy full of ice. It doesn't like the cheep inverter. It runs real rough and all the cubes melt before the next batch falls out. It was only $60 (half price so I couldn't
pass it up).....Also you wouldn't believe how small it looks in the picture, but 16"x14"x16" won't fit anywhere!

Speaking of 20/20 hind sight or buyers remorse! but that is another story.

Whe I got back from the Dr., I didn't notice the boat wasn't quite where I left it. Even after sticking out the night with 43 knot winds and the day and a half of 35 knot winds, today in less than 20 ti decided to come loose while Trinda was napping. A couple of the neighbors showed up and helped her re-anchor the boat back close to where it was when I left this morning.

So the holding in Pago Pago is NOT very good as we had heard. I had been deluded by the 2 weeks of not moving in strong wind. Go figure. Anyway, the other boats helped out and thought nothing of it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pago Pago

Pronounced as "pango-pango". All the other languages around here have a character in the alphabet "ng" pronounced like in sing, but these folks just add the "n" mentally, without writing it.

The view from the boat of the beautiful fish cannery and the small boat docks where we land the dinghy. If only you could smell it like we do!!! You can't see the garbage in the water either. Every styrofoam cup on the island washes down the streets and into the anchorage during the daily rains.

Today I cleaned the sludge from the port fuel tank again. Donnie helped me do it once before, in Mexico. It seems to have gotten a little water in it, maybe while we were redoing the deck in Hawaii. A little water and it grows algae, which immediately poop lots and die. This all floats to the bottom. First bumpy wave stirs it up and poof! Clogged fuel filters. I got about 1/2 gallon of crud and a quart of water out. Now the whole boat stinks of diesel (to mask the cannery, I guess) because it is a sloppy job, in the floor in front of the kitchen sink.

Then I went in search of a memory chip to use to update the firmware in the radar/chart plotter. I have ordered a Navionics chart chip that has detailed charts of all the South Pacific, Hawaii and Japan to plug into the radar and display with the radar reflected signals. It will be a good backup to the computer navigation charts we've been using.

The first package (of many, it seams) arrived today. The replacement battery and charger for the laptop. Now maybe it will quit loosing time, and even allow us to use it outside the boat some. For the last 2 months, it would not hold a charge more than 10 minutes, so it had to be plugged in all time it was on. Now we are just waiting on the books, chart chip, boat supply order, CDs from Guy, powdered eggs and green chili's, paper mail, etc.

It is nice to be at a place that US mail actually arrives in a reasonable time!

We have met a few boats heading north too. But most seem to be going to Fiji, Tonga and/or New Zealand.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Not much to write about. Since we have internet, I have ordered several parts, from several vendors, and now we wait. I have spent most of my time searching the internet for the things we needed and trying to find companies that will ship them to us. Most companies on the internet do not think American Samoa is a US territory. But the folks living here sure do. The post office even says US Post Office above the door and it flies an American flag, and even has a normal zip code.

We still have several projects to work on, that we do have parts for. One fuel tank seems to have a little water in it and has contaminated the fuel some, so I need to pump it out to a jug and filter it and scrub the tank again. That means the boat is going to stink like diesel again. Trinda is not happy about that!

They have a store like CostCo here, Cost-You-Less, even has some Kirkland brands. In general it seems like a fairly inexpensive place to shop, except California veggies are already turning bad in the store. It is still a long way from there.

We haven't spent much money since Hawaii (that was enough!) but we did eat most of our provisions. So we need to replace all those cans and bags of non-perishables. We usually have at least 6 months worth of that kind of food aboard, you know, pinto beans, rice, flour, sugar, corn meal, canned tomatoes,beans, corn, green chilli, dry pasta, top ramin, and all.

I used up a lot of spares too like bolts and nuts, electrical connectors, fuel filters, oil, antifreeze for the engine and such. But it shouldn't be anything like Hawaii.

We have met several boats here. most are headed for Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. Only one, Rubicon, going to the Marshals like us. They have been wondering around here 8 years they said. They knew some of the people we met on the islands too.