Day 294, Year 1: Sailing Wing and Wing
Date: Monday, August 7, 2006
Weather: Blue Skies and Sunny; E Winds Variable 10-20
Latitude: 19 degrees, 08 minutes S
Longitude: 164 degrees, 06 minutes W
Location: Passage from Rarotonga to American Samoa, Day 3
Miles to Go: 477 (out of 747)

I’ve said it before, but what a difference a day makes. During Mark’s middle of the night watch, he put the headsail out to starboard and the mainsail out to port to sail wing and wing. That worked for us during the night and has provided a delightful sail today. Anytime you are sailing downwind, the boat is still going to rock from side to side no matter how calm the seas, but with bright blue skies and plenty of sunshine, it makes for a great sail. We have seen no black walls or gray rain clouds today and we are enjoying every minute. It is also a couple of degrees warmer already. Heading back toward the equator seems like a good thing to me right now.

We have spent the day reading about the Samoas and I worked some on editing and naming pictures for the website. I sent all of the folders from French Polynesia and the first half of Rarotonga home on CD with Linda and she will send those in the mail to Justin for the website. I’m working on the last half of Rarotonga now and will try once again to send those via e-mail. That is not an easy task out here and might not work. We’ll just have to see what kind of connection we have in American Samoa.

We are getting very excited about our visit to the Samoas. We will first visit American Samoa. We will anchor the boat in the harbor in Pago Pago on the island of Tutuila. This harbor is sometimes referred to as the armpit of the South Pacific because of the huge tuna canneries that pollute the harbor as well as the deluge of local garbage that is washed into the harbor when it rains. I mentioned in an earlier log that there has been a clean-up effort and we will just have to see how successful that has been. But despite a less than perfect harbor, we anticipate having a great time ashore. American Samoa is beautiful. Rainmaker Mountain towers over the harbor and they say the view from the mountain top is spectacular. Not sure if I will make it up there, but I’ll certainly send Mark up with a camera. We will spend at least two weeks there, maybe three depending on how my leg is doing, and then move on to Samoa. I know it is confusing having two Samoas, but what is now referred to as just Samoa was once Western Samoa. Some now refer to it as independent Samoa. There are two main islands in independent Samoa, Upolu and Savaii, and we will explore those with our son Justin and my niece Lynn who should arrive in mid-September. When we left Rarotonga, we left the part of the South Pacific with hip-shaking, knee slapping dancing. No more grass skirt, either. We are into a whole new world where singing and dancing is much more conservative, but supposedly very beautiful. It will be fascinating to compare.

Our nighttime passage reading is Nelson DeMille’s Plum Island. We read three of his books earlier and the Stuart’s brought us this one when they came to Rarotonga. I’ll finish the book tomorrow and will have to find another “gripper” to help make it through the night passages. We anticipate arrival in American Samoa on Friday. Tomorrow we will pass the half-way mark. Hurrah! And we have a wonderful full moon to light our way. Life is good.

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