Friday, September 23, 2011

Fun in Pago Pago

We had a good time in Pago Pago, and worked hard too.

The first item of business for Sherry was to get on the internet and check and update all the finances--we had been away from the internet for about 6 weeks, so there was quite a backlog. 350 emails, for one thing. Fortunately the Blue Sky wifi signal in the harbor is pretty strong, reasonably fast, and cheap ($20 for 1 week unlimited usage).

I didn't get a chance to back-post any pictures on the blog, but I did spend some time on Facebook. And I got 2 Compendiums updated (Societies, Cooks & Samoas). I also am working on figuring out how to make navigable charts out of Google Earth (Tonga's charts are a little off).

We also had time to do some sightseeing. On one day, we caught a bus up to the 'pass' southwest of town, and then hiked all the way along the ridge on the north side of the harbor, and down into the town of Vaitia, where we could catch a bus back to town. This was a really nice hike, but it was quite windless and hot the day we did it.

We went together with Amy and Roger on Shango, and rented a car for a day. We managed to drive to the extreme east and west ends of the island, do a little shopping, and stop for dinner at Tisa's Barefoot Bar.

On Saturday, we spent half a day at McDonalds watching college football games. Unfortunately, McD's only had ESPN (not ABC), so we didn't get to watch either of our teams play. But it was fun just watching any college team.

I spent half a day doing laundry--we had accumulated several changes of linens, plus about 2 weeks worth of dirty clothes. It was wonderful to go into a big, clean laundramat and get it all done in 2 hours (no wringing!!). It was worth going to Pago Pago just for the laundry...

We also spent nearly a day filling Soggy Paws with diesel. In Pago Pago, you have to prepay for your fuel at the 'business office' for the fuel dock (a little ways out of town). Then make an appointment, and then go fuel up. We opted to take our jerry jugs over to Shango, and fill when they fueled up. The fuel dock is made for bigger boats, so yachts need to wait for high tide to fuel up. Shango got bumped from their first appointment--a tuna boat was refueling until long past high tide. We asked the fuel dock attendant how much fuel the big new tuna boats take on, and he said almost $1 million worth of fuel. On the second attempt, Shango (with Dave and our tanks also aboard) got into the fuel dock without incident.

We spent several days provisioning... starting out with an initial survey of all the stores, in which we *only* spent a couple of hundred dollars. A few days later, with a rental car to help with the logistics, we spent almost $1000 in one day. We followed that up with one more $300 trip. We should be good for about 6 months now, except for fresh veggies, and bread and eggs.

Dave spent a day or two checking out the hardware stores. Pago Pago has both an Ace Hardware and a True Value Hardware store, plus a bunch of non-franchised hardware stores. The main thing he was looking for was high-pressure hose to repair a leaky watermaker line.

We thoroughly enjoyed Pago Pago--the town is MUCH nicer than it used to be (2 of the 3 tuna canneries have closed down, and the 3rd is obeying EPA regulations). We found the people VERY VERY nice. Everyone was friendly and a few people went way out of their way to help us out with minor issues. In spite of a report one someone's blog in 2008 about theft in the harbor, we know of no incidents at all this year, and everyone was pretty lax. We did, once or twice when the wind was right, get downwind of the tuna cannery. Phewie!! But it never lasted very long.

The harbor is still draggy... after anchoring in a recommended spot, and sitting just fine for about 36 hours, we dragged in only 15 knots of wind. Dave was off the boat, but two guys from neighboring boats came and helped me re-anchor. This time, it set well, and stayed fine after that. It was nice to have a nice light wind period to be in this harbor that is renowned for being terrible for anchoring. We got our anchor up without incident, too. There is a ton of debris on the bottom there, including one whole sailboat, rigging and all. Our friends on Two Amigos took hours getting their anchor up.

The last night in the harbor, we got 10 people together and organized a trip to Tisa's Barefoot Bar for their Wednesday night Pig Roast. We took the last bus out to Tisa's for $1, and they organized a taxi back for us at $2.50 each.

We did all this in 8 days! Our friends on Shango had their tongues hanging out, trying to keep up with us.

We left Pago Pago this morning, in spite of not much wind. It's time to get moving! We only have about 5 weeks before we fly back to the US from Tonga. In that time, we want to see Western Samoa, Niuatoputapu (Tonga), and Neiafu (Tonga), and get Soggy Paws settled on a mooring.
At 14/09/2011 6:53 PM (utc) our position was 14°16.42'S 170°41.72'W

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