HEAVEN! Flat bed, breeze, cold beer. Life is good. Everyone slept well, ready for a big day today. First priority - power (ran the generator), then food (thrive scrambled eggs and leftover tritip), then internet. Almost stopped at internet, but we needed to get checked in. So got the dinghy down and headed in around 1100 local.
I have to say that this was the easiest, friendliest, most helpful check in to a country ever - including the US. First we went to the Harbor Master. Got taken care of by the Harbor Master himself as his staff was all out doing community service at a local grade school (refurbishing I guess). Very nice guy - his kids were born in the bay area, so lots to talk about. Then he gave us great directions for our next three stops. Next was the harbor office to drop off paperwork, then customs. All these in the same building. The guys in customs were a hoot. Filled out one piece of paper, and then they asked us if we needed anything here, and proceeded to give us directions to the stores and good restaurants, the buses and such. On our way out of the port area we dropped off a piece of paper with the security guards and then headed to immigration. Got our first rinse of the day on the way there. Immigration was in and out in less than 5 minutes, actually used the crew list we supplied, stamped our passports, and told us to come back when we are ready to leave. The highlight of the day came next. Lunch....
We had lunch at Sadies by the Sea (Goat Island Cafe to be exact). SALAD!!! OMG it was amazing! Not cheap, but who cares it was good! Service was pretty good too. The hostess was very friendly, talked about AS (American Samoa) and Samoa (western - she is from there), I was able to ask her about eggs - they are local, but kept cold (guess I will have to deal). She had the traditional Samoan tattoos for women - we could only see a little bit of them as they get them from waist to knees. Another OSHA moment - kittens playing on the tables. The cats looked in good shape, so no worries there as far as I was concerned.
From there we went back towards the dinghy dock. Stopped at the fuel office - no one home, but an Ozzie guy stopped and gave us phone numbers. Then stopped at the post office 1 of 3 packages here. Then small grocery store (chicken legs, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bread eggs, pretzels(with salt :) ), snack mix, local beer (recommended by the customs guys), juice and evap milk = $40). By then we were all pretty tired, so back to the boat and more working on the internet. We are pirating with our Alfa antenna right now. The wifi for purchase doesn't seem to work very well in the anchorage, so we will see what happens with it. Josh needs to work on his biology, so internet is critical.
Tomorrow we will start on our lists, probably take a bus ride out to the stores.
So, AS has a poor reputation among cruisers for being not a very nice place. So far, we are not on board with that opinion. The harbor is a working harbor with a cannery, so it is not picturesque by any means. The water is not great, but it is not the worst we've had either (remember Barra de navidad in Mexico? the water there was too thick to drink and too thin to plow). The harbor looks like it is the filled in caldera of a volcano - another jurassic park type of location, green, lush walls surrounding us. The houses and buildings are all in pretty good shape and seem well kept. There is a good bit of garbage around, but nothing different than any of the other islands we have been to so far (except Suwarrow which was immaculate). The people are all amazingly friendly - they look at you, smile and say hello. The cannery smells a little bit. Josh assures me that my brain will block it out eventually, sort of like white noise. I am okay with that happening sooner rather than later, but it is not overwhelming by any means. One of the more interesting sites so far has been in the dock area where they were repairing fishing nets. It is a huge operation. Guess I will have to take a picture, cuz I can't figure out how to describe the sheer amount of net.
I guess we are happy to be here on several levels. Being in an English speaking country sure makes it easy (how american of me huh?). Didn't try the Mc Donalds today (no salad there), but looking forward to some fries and a diet coke with ice! Oh it is the small things.
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