Saturday, August 23, 2008

Arriving Apia, Samoa

August 23, 2008—We arrived in Samoa on Thursday morning making an overnight sail. The conditions were good with the wind around 20 knots. It was a bit rough leaving Pago Pago harbor; but after a few hours the seas settled down, and it became quite comfortable. We sailed with a triple reef in the main for the whole trip. The last few hours we deeply reefed the jib because we were going too fast and would arrive before dawn. Even with the sails reefed way down, we were still sailing at around 6 knots.

Just before dark Steve hooked a beautiful Dorado. It was a struggle to get it on board, but once we did we were able to measure it—it was 47 inches long. I was so disappointed because all we had time for was a picture of it lying on the side deck. It was getting dark fast, and Steve still had to clean it so we didn’t have time for anything more. We got a lot of fillets from it and finished cleaning up the boat (fishing is so messy) around 7 p.m.

Whenever we do a one-night sail, we do not sleep well. I got in a few hours, and Steve rested in the cockpit, but we were pretty tired by the time we arrived. The only thing that kept us going was coffee and the wonderful cinnamon rolls that we bought in Pago Pago before we left.

We arrived outside Apia harbor at 7:30 in the morning and called the harbor master for permission to enter. We had reservations at the marina so a skiff came out to meet us and to guide us into the marina and then into our slip. Earlier we had had to dig out our dock lines and our fenders, which had not been used since La Paz, Mexico.

We got the boat secured in the slip and then waited for officialdom. There were four agencies that had to come to the boat—health, immigration, customs, and the marina staff. Everything was done quickly and efficiently, and the people were all very friendly and helpful.

Several of our cruising friends were here, so we took some time to visit with them. Next, Steve went to deliver a written message from sv Little Wings to Lyn and Larry Pardey. The Pardeys came over later to thank us for the dorado we had given them and for delivering the message. The Pardeys are very well known in the sailing community and have been cruising since the mid-60s.

Mid-morning we both were so tired that we took naps. When we woke up, we decided to walk into Apia to see what the town was like. We stopped at a sidewalk café to have a beer and talked for while with a commercial fisherman from New Zealand, which was very interesting. We continued down the main street to the bank where we changed some money. The local currency here is the tala. We also went to the computer store to buy internet time. We are able to get the internet on the boat, which is nice; however, it is not as cheap as in Pago Pago. We returned to the boat around 5 o’clock, fixed some dorado for dinner, and crashed.

Yesterday we went into town to go to the central market. It was wonderful! There was fruit, handmade crafts, material, and food for sale. We bought some curried chicken over rice and some panzit, and it was really delicious. We split one dish, which cost us $5 tala. Steve found some bottled water and was amazed that it cost us $4 tala. Four ladies were sitting at our table so we asked if we might take their picture. Three of them gave us a wonderful pose for the picture. We talked with them for awhile and found out that two were in Samoa from New Zealand for a funeral, and the other two live here. They were very interested to hear about our sailing, and when we left, they wished us well.

We had a great time walking around looking at everything that was for sale. There were tables where men were playing checkers. The board was a piece of wood that had been painted white. Then the paint had been removed to form small circles on the board. They played on the circles the way we play on the squares. The checker pieces looked to be plastic lids off bottles—one set orange, the other set yellow. There is usually a group of men gathered around, and when one man loses, another man gets to play. It was fun to watch.

So far, we really like Apia. It is a nice, clean town with friendly people, and the prices are reasonable. We are also enjoying being in a marina for the first time in 5 months. I have hot water at the sink—what a treat! We have power so we don’t have to worry about draining the batteries, and we have water on the dock as well. We might just become spoiled and not want to leave.

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