Day 328, Year 1: Quarantined in Apia
Date: Sunday, September 10, 2006
Weather: Another Beautiful, Sunny Day
Location: Apia Harbor, Upolu Island, Samoa
We had a beautiful sail from one Samoa to the other-from Pago Pago, Tutuila, to Apia, Upolu. But when we got here Harbor Control informed us that because it is Sunday we could not check in. They told us we would have to anchor away from other boats and stay onboard until we can check in tomorrow morning. This is technically the case in many places, but this is the first time we have been told to stay onboard. It is just as well as we had many things to do, but it is a strange feeling to be sitting here with our yellow quarantine flag flying and not being able to get in the dinghy and visit friends. Aqua Magic is here and we haven’t seen Margaret and Patrick since the Marquesas. We talked on the radio and will visit tomorrow.
My first impression of Upolu as we approached is that it is not as lush as Tutuila. It looks a little drier. It is mountainous, but the mountains are not as high. Tutuila is stunning and it looks like Upolu will be beautiful, but it won’t have the dramatic mountain peaks. On the other hand, the harbor here in Apia is very clean. That is definitely a change from Pago Pago. The harbor there was full of plastic bags and bottles and Styrofoam. Now that we are here and see once again how beautiful a clean harbor can be we realize just how desperately American Samoa needs to do something about their harbor problem. Another difference is that the city of Apia has multi-story hotels and modern buildings. That was not the case in American Samoa. The now defunct Rainmaker Hotel was the tallest building there and it had only two stories. The buildings here appear to be about six stories high. Tutuila was only 18.6 miles long and never more than 3.7 miles wide. Upolu is at least two to three times that size and has twice as many people. It will be fascinating to get on land and make more comparisons in the next few days.
Soon after we arrived today, we discovered that we were very lucky to have made it in here with our main sail still flying. The aluminum gooseneck that connects the main sail boom to the main mast had broken sometime during the passage, but the halyard holding up the main sail had kept things aloft. Mark was successful in getting gooseneck and the fitting on the boom removed, so our first job here will be to find a way to get this repaired. That could be tricky here as this is not a working port like Pago Pago. We’ll see if we can find someone here who can weld aluminum, and if not, we’ll have to get the part back to Pago Pago for repair. A cruising boat really keeps you busy with minor and major repairs. It is just a fact of the cruising life.
I spent the day cleaning the bottom of the dinghy. After being in the water in Pago Pago Harbor for a full month, it had a nice layer of hairy algae and lots of little barnacles. The stainless steel boarding ladder had the same, and it took all afternoon to get these things looking half-way decent once again.
We’re looking forward to going ashore tomorrow. Mark visited here when he lived in Samoa, but none of the modern buildings existed then. Aggie Grey’s Hotel is a landmark in the harbor and officially one of “The Most Famous Hotels in the World” along with the Ritz in Paris, the Plaza in New York, and Raffles in Singapore. We have read that it has the prices to go along with the title, but not the accommodations. The Aggie’s that Mark knew is long gone and a new building has taken its place. We will definitely go there for their Wednesday night Fiafia (island night) but we’ll have to check prices to see if we can afford to partake in the buffet.
Tomorrow and Tuesday we will get familiar with Apia and prepare for the arrival of our son Justin and my niece Lynn. They arrive at 5:30 AM on Wednesday morning. I guess we’ll get an early start on that day!
|060910 Day 328 Samoa–Arrival in Apia|