Ready and waiting
Sunday 20th October 2013
Well, things improved somewhat in Pago Pago after all the excitement in the anchorage. Having taken a bin bag full of spinnaker cloth ashore to the dumpster to ensure nobody else gets any fun out of it, we put the whole incident to the back of our minds and crossed our fingers that there isn’t any more where that came from.
Off to the dumpster with this bag of old spinnaker.
The wind finally dropped (a bit) and the boat swung around a lot on its long rode but the anchor stayed put (so far!) So we began to venture out and got some jobs done and saw a bit more of the island. We were told there is a lovely hike up along the top of the surrounding hills, with a bus to take you up to the start, and we were tempted, but much fitter cruisers than us came back saying it was not so much a hike as a climb in some places so we decided to give it a miss. Especially as they said there’s only two viewpoints along the whole way.
We concentrated on exploring other important aspects of American Samoan life, such as the laundromat and Cost-U-Less, restaurants, fuel stations and LPG filling stations. Not very exciting you might think, and it isn’t really, but the water in the harbour is so brown you really wouldn’t want to fall in it much less choose to go for a swim in it, so water activities are out. We had to do a fresh water flush on the watermaker when we first arrived and another yesterday to keep it up and running without the need to run the harbour water through it, as we hate to think what nasties are in there.
It has rained so much during our stay, though, that we have been able to catch it and top up the tanks with it, as well as conserving water by showering in the rain, so the lack of watermaking hasn’t been a problem. We need to fit a new anode on the propeller as our friendly spinnaker took the old one (actually it was fairly new) off, but it would be pointless even trying here as the visibility is about 2 inches. So that’s a job for Tonga, where, we hear, the water is much clearer and cleaner.
The water in the harbour is a muddy brown. Taking advantage of a free shower, albeit cold!
The island’s buses are cheap ($1) and frequent, and we made good use of them to get our various jobs done. As in many of the islands we have visited, they range from well-kept and smart vehicles which are obviously the pride and joy of their owners, to old, dirty and not so smart, but these latter were definitely in the minority. Each driver plays the type of music he enjoys, at the volume he enjoys, with the bass adjusted as he enjoys....
Off to Cost-u-Less in this bus.... ...and back with ‘Spider-Man’.
The inside is all wood, and the seats somewhat basic (and hard!)
The bus driver was quite happy for Steve to take the LPG bottles on board, although they were then condemned as too old and rusty to fill when he got them to the depot. After a bit of coaxing they agreed that they would half-fill them, but this seemed rather pointless, so he stumped up $30 a piece for two new gas bottles and $16 a piece to fill them up. When we later saw the empty gas bottles on sale in a hardware store for more than the cost of the bottle and gas combined, we realised this was actually quite a bargain. And the old bottles (which they took away) were indeed in a bit of a state, so all very positive.
We joined some of the other cruisers ashore one evening at the Mexican restaurant for beers and dollar tacos – the beef ones were good but the chicken were pretty tasteless. And yesterday lunchtime we joined Rod & Mary and Mike and Anita from Cherokee Rose at a very pleasant shoreside restaurant called Don’t Drink the Water’ for a very tasty lunch at a reasonable price.
The new alternator and battery charger for Sheer arrived from the US yesterday and with the help of Mike from Cherokee Rose are fitted and working. So now, with all the laundry done, beer and chocolate stores replenished, gas bottles and fuel tanks full, we are ready to leave for Tonga, some 340 nmiles away with the next weather window. What is our verdict on Pago Pago? Our cruising guide describes it as a provisioning stop with little else to offer. We would not argue with that. Nice people, shame about the place.