Posted by: catamarantwooceans | July 30, 2010

More of Samoa

I have problem with uploading pictures; Will correct and add later!

25.7.10 – Sunday – This is the holy day in the island. No work is being done and yachties are supposed to follow this rule. I will admit to cheating a little bit by cleaning the inside of the boat, reasonning that cleanlness is a virtue worthy of a true believer.
26.7.10 – Monday – Work, work, work! Had to replace the starboard starting battery that did not go over 11 volts even after a prolonged charging. The port one had voltage but no amperage and was taken for service in a place called “Klaus” which seemed to know how to fix it. Rushing back and forth between marina and town I employed Jay, a burly taxi driver who said he could take us for a tour around the island for a good price. Perhaps in anticipation of the big payment for the potential tour he overcharged for the rides. He did help me a lot, though, hagling for me with the battery vendor and helping to carry the heavy thing to the boat.

Jay

 Last job for the day – cleanning the decks. Meir, my crew for this trip is coming tommorow, landing at 0530 – got to prepare everything before he arrives.
27.7.10 – Tuesday – I was up early waiting for Meir to come. Three hours after landing time and the man did not show up. Looked at the Air New Zealand site – it shows no flight planned to land in the last hour and the next 12 hours. Tried to call the airline and the number I had was wrong. So, off to Clair’s office I went and she called them for me coming up with the information that the flight will only come tommorow. Only then everything clicked into place; I simply confused the flight’s timetable!
28.7.10 – Wednesday – At 0630 I went to help Mike and Mary leave their berth on their way to Tonga. Just a few minutes later Meir came. After putting his stuff in his cabin we sat down and discussed the plans for the next few days. We both wanted to do a land tour in Upoulo, where Apia is and Savaii, the other big Samoan island. Meir said:”I’m not tired, we can go today!” So I called Jay and arranged for him pick us up. We drove around and across the island, enjoying numerous waterfalls, the magnificent views and tropical flora.

We then visited Robert Louis Stevenson’s mansion. The famous Scot author (Treasure Island, Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde) spent the last 4.5 years of his life in Samoa. They called him “Tusitalla” meaning story teller. He died 44 years old, was burried there and is a revered figure to this day. The house is full of replicas of the original furniture and utensils of his period and many original, first eddition books.

Altogether an interesting place. We then had to decide: shall we do the 35 minutes climb to his tomb? Sure! We started the steep climb through the jungle and I was surprised to find out that I was totaly out of shape! At home we are going on one hour fast walks but climbing is a completely different ball game! To finish the tour we went to a natural rock slide, where a stream shaped and smoothed the rocks in its path. Sliding and accellerating down the 6 meters fall is not for the faint hearted, but the mountain water in the pool below was cool and refreshing.

slip-sliding away...

Going back to Apia we considered doing the same trick on Savaii. My original thought was to sail over, but this would have meant a bad angle to the wind on the  way to Tonga and in any case we would have had to arrange transportaion in Savaii. Jay was happy to drive us over and back,crossing over with the ferry, so we agreed to be picked up at 0520.

Before going to dinner we went to a chinese grocery shop to buy a few things for breakfast and were held there by a sudden rainstorm. We waited and waited and the rain kept coming down in torrents. “Maybe they have umbrellas in the store” and of course they did. Going out of the store with our new protection we found out that the rain stopped… “Paddles” is a high standard restaurant and we enjoyed a very good meal there, not inexpensive, though.

29.7.10 – Thursday – At 0520 we started for the ferry. “Do we have time to stop at an ATM?” “No problem” says Jay. We take out some money out of the wall and drive on. At one point I go over the island’s map in my mind and realize that the ferry terminal is further to the west of the airport and that the realistic drive time should be close to an hour! “Jay, are we going to make it?” “Yes, no problem”. There was perhaps no problem but coming into the terminal we saw the ship steaming away to the horizon. “No problem! there is another one at 0700” says Jay “By the way, the crossing over with the cab costs 125 tala each way, do you still want me to drive there with you?” Talking about timely information! We sent the man away after paying for the ride and went inside to check the ferry schedule. No ferry at 0700 but there is one at 0800 arriving Savaii at 0930. So if we do it we will only have six hours before we have to board the ferry back! Not nearly enough!

Back to the original plan – we will simply sail over. We saw some busses waiting for the incoming ferry. One of them carried a big “Shalom” sign. When do you leave for town?” “0730”. So we took the bus back, straight to the market, where we bought fruit and veg for the trip ahead.

Back at the boat, Meir took the task of configuring the Iridium for e-mail operation while I went to town to start the departure procedures. The first thing I was briefed by Clair to do was go to the Foreign Afairs department for an authorization to depart for Tonga with a stop in Savaii. The FA people were very nice and told me I actually needed the Prime Minister’s office. A smiling typical Samoan lady issued an impressive document and I was free to go on with the regular Immigrations – Customs routine. Then more shopping and we were ready to go.

The distance to Asau harbour, our destination, is 62 miles, so to get there with the sun up high for easy coral sighting we should leave around 0300 in the morning. “Why not at midnight?” says Meir. A 46 foot Halberg Rassey is leaving the slip next to us. “Where are you sailing to?” “We are going to Savaii” “We’ll see you there, then, we are going to Asau too” “But we are going to Matatua bay, 20 odd miles before Asau” “O.K, good winds”. Hey! Why don’t we go there too? It’s only 38 miles away so we can have a full night sleep and go in the morning!

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