July 10, 2010
american samoa is known for its tuna processing activities by the samoa packing company. Pago pago, the capital, produces the tuna in the cans of “chicken of the sea” and “starkist”. no wonder why this is the biggest US commercial fishing port in the world. as such, the reputation amongst sailors is not the best. The bay is known to be noisy, filthy and smelly from the tuna processing plants.
when we arrived we did see a lot of big fishing boats with huge nets and even helicopters on top. we also saw big freighters and tug boats and the chimneys of the processing plant. we did not see many cruisers, only a handful of them. surprisingly though, the smell was not so terrible and the noise is not bad either.
The bay is dirty but only at the end closer to shore. The water outside the bay is quite pristine and beautiful. the city in general is picturesque and the people are the nicest and friendliest we have met so far.
being a US territory, the prices are very reasonable and there is everything one could possibly imagine.
there is even a costco supermarket in the island!!!! we already took advantage of this and the good prices and have restocked our refrigerator!
the island also has very funny looking buses that take us everywhere for just one dollar or a dollar and a half. so far we have walked to town; explored the western most part of the island; enjoyed the mcdonalds across from the wharf and its excellent internet; have machine washed all our clothes and even dried them for only one dollar per load and; became members of the video club and watched a different and good movie almost every night! we still have a waterfall which we will go to and several hikes and the entire eastern part of the island to discover. We are very happy in this wonderful place which is not at all as described in the sailing guides or books. it is a lot better.
one very bizarre tradition we have seen is the graves in the backyards of the houses. they bury their family members in their own back yard and decorate the crypts with flowers and some even have roofs with roman type looking columns.
less than a year ago this island suffered a terrible disaster. a magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck the pacific near american samoa, triggering a tsunami with 20 feet tall waves that reached the shores of pago pago and destroyed everything on its path. even today we can see some of the damage and still closed down businesses and even boats on shore that were carried there by the big waves.
Labels: american samoa