Yesterday we docked in American Samoa at Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango) & joined a local tour of the island on a very tropical-looking bus which cost us US$20 each for 3.5 hours – amazing value & much better value than the ship’s excursions.
There is no road around the island so you go all the way one way & then all the way back the other way. The island is very lush, green & pretty.
About 200 people were killed here in the 2009 tsunami & we stopped at a memorial beside the ocean where 10 were buried – it’s called the healing garden. They had no warning system – apparently because of government corruption – the US government had provided funding to install one in 2007 but the money had been misdirected. It must have been so frightening.
We really enjoyed our tour, the guy was knowledgeable & intermittent showers dampened us down & kept us cool. Apparently they charge you to go onto the beach just like in Europe. We are so spoilt at home with our beautiful beaches all freely accessible to us all.
The industry here is tuna fishing & there have been 2 big tuna canneries but one has recently closed. Many people are leaving & heading to the US. Traditionally, family members are buried in the front yard of your home so as we drive around we saw many decorative headstones in front yards. Those migrating just close up the house & head off to the US leaving the tombstones in front of the house.
Last night we sailed the short distance to Samoa & once again it was a bumpy ride but we’re quite used to it now. While we were sleeping, we crossed the International Date Line & lost Wednesday so now we are the same day as you at home. We came into Apia this morning as the sun was rising & it was very pretty.
We caught the shuttle bus into town to visit the Samoan Cultural Centre where we enjoyed a display of the men cooking in the traditional way which was really interesting. The sun is shining today which makes for a pleasant change but it has been very steamy.
Surprisingly Samoa is much bigger than American Samoa – I had presumed it would be the reverse. Apparently families on holidays are their main industry.
We’ve enjoyed the Samoas. Will add more photos in the next post.
We’ve a sea day tomorrow & then we will be in Fiji.