Saturday, August 17, 2013

Samoa - catching up

Wow - time flies and I have some catching up to do

Tuesday Am. Samoa - Fueling and Tesa's beach bar.
Pulled the hook at 1030. That went well. Messy but no problems. Fueling tends to be one of the more stressful aspects of cruising for one reason or another - wind from the wrong direction, lines, swell, spills to name a few. This fueling was totally an exception to the norm and probably one of the easiest ever. We pulled up, the attendant guy helped us tie up. Took our paperwork in (had to pay at a different place), they have an regular nozzle adaptor to put on the big ass hose, gave us a stack of white pads and we were off. When we got to the 80 gallons we had paid for, we still needed more, so they let us keep going which was real nice. So, in and out in roughly 30 minutes. We were reanchored by 1215. We had lunch, then Dennis went to the office to pay for the difference in gas. When he got back we picked up the crew from My Muse, went in and caught the Aua bus out to Tesa's Beach Bar and Grill on the east side of the Island. It was very nice. It was one of the few structures on the coast that was not totally wiped out by the tsunami. Amazing actually as they are right on the beach. Our waiter/cook - Candyman (sp?)- was from NZ but had been in Samoa for 17 years, at Tesa's for most of those. In fact he had been there so long and served Tesa and the village so well, that he was allowed the honor of getting the samoan body tattoo. They hunted the boar for the tusk and everything. Very traditional and very painful - took 17 hours in total. But, quite the honor for a white man. He told us all about the tsunami and the 6 villages on the three bays that are the "family" that Tesa (she is the chief) is the head of and takes care of. We were hoping to meet her, but she had gone for provisions and never came back that we saw. So, we had a very nice visit, did crab races with the hermit crabs, ate some delicious shrimp and banana chips (made like french fries with platains(?) the angular bananas). Wasn't enough though, so when we got back to PagoPago we stopped by Mc Donalds. Not the same caliber at all, but it filled the hole.
Wednesday
We got up and did the divide and conquer thing again as the plan was to leave in the afternoon. Dennis and I went to the bank first. Then he went off to the fishing supply store and the hardware store. I went to make phone calls - only somewhat successfully. The phones died after my first call. Next to the port captain to pay (52$), then customs ($100). I thought I had to go to immigration, but the customs guy didn't think so, so he called and since we have US passports I didn't have to go. Sure was nice of him - saved me a long walk. Next on my list was groceries. I tried calling the boat, but no answer, so started walking towards them. Finally got a hold of them, Josh came and picked me up in the dinghy, i dropped off the first bit of groceries and then we headed to the store by the laundramat (best price on beer). Finished my list there, got our beer and sadly the credit card machine wouldn't work because - Yep the phones weren't working. I had some cash, but not enough for everything, so sadly had to put one case of beer back. Oh well, 2 will just have to do us..... Got back to the boat, made lunch and then got the boat ready to go. By 1430 we were ready to go. Pulling the hook was not quite as straightforward this time. Poor Josh. The chain got the wheels from a kids toy wrapped up in it. Was fairly difficult to get them unwrapped, but he did and we were off. We planned an overnighter so we would arrive in Samoa in plenty of time to check in as we lost a day coming here. (left on Wednesday, arrived Friday morning) We had good wind coming over, but it was almost directly downwind. Sailed with the triple reefed main only - still made good time. Was pretty rolly, but was easier to take knowing it we would be in the marina the next day.

Thursday - now Friday
Made it in to the harbor at Apia by 0830. Had to wait for them to place a catamaran, then the boat came to guide us in. Feels weird to be at the dock. We weren't supposed to get off the boat until all the officials visited us, but we did anyway. It took awhile, but finally the health and quarantine people showed up. Immigration showed up around 1230. At 1330 we called Port control, and they said that we should go to customs as they might not get to us. If they didn't then it would be Monday before they did - and technically we would have to stay on the boat. We walked over - got yelled at that they would come to us, then got yelled at again for being off the boat when the guy finally arrived. He seemed to get it out of his system - gave him some rootbeer. So by 1430 we were all checked in. During our wait Dennis figured out how to get shore power - what a luxury. The batteries are in heaven - fully charged! The shower facilities are a hike from the boat, so we took our stuff and headed over. I know that the thought of a cold water shower doesn't sound appealing to you, but to be able to just stand under running water - again heaven! Also it is pretty darn hot and humid here. We were melting. From there we went straight to the bar - and pretty much stayed there until time for dinner. By then it was raining. We had a restless night between the siren going off on land at 1230 (no one on shore seemed to mind it, so we just went back to bed) and our smoke detector going off - who knows when. Good to know it works - it detected the smoke from our mosquito coils.

Saturday
RAIN, RAIN, RAIN. We decided to brave it though, and walked into town to the tourist center (beautiful building), the bank and the market. I bought us all a hand fan and a lightweight top of local design for me. It was a deluge, so we taxied to the yacht club (with Moondance) for lunch - but it was closed. So back to the boats for lunch and rainy day activities. Later in the afternoon we went across the street to the ice cream parlor with Moondance for a change of scenery. Gotta love an icecream parlor that serves beer. They sponsor a school for samoan fire dancers. Were able to watch them practice a little bit. Dennis took a taxi to ACE looking for parts for power as we are now in the land of 240v/50 hz vs 110/60. Dennis installed a transformer, we just need the adaptors for the cords. Ace was closed, so that will have to wait until Monday. Since the rain showed no signs of letting up, we decided to put up our sunshades, so we could keep a few of the hatches open. We got totally soaked, but it did make the rain stop!! Our big event was watching "Battleship" on the big TV. It requires a lot of power, so we don't use it very much. So it was a nice treat.

Today has started off slow, was nice to sleep in and sleep all the way thru the night. No alarms or sirens or other abrupt wake up calls. On a sad note though, the 50hz fried our coffee maker. Dennis is going to try to fix it - bypass the timer I guess. But that is a very bad/sad thing. We can compensate as there is no way I would not have a back up plan for coffee, but still it is a bit of a crisis. More to come on that I guess. No big plans today. Maybe some sewing we will see.

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