Monday, August 04, 2008

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa
We have been having a wonderful time in American Samoa. We arrived when the Pacific Festival of the Arts was still on. We put the anchor down and tidied up the boat and went ashore to take part in the festival. With the lack of sleep and the number of tasks to be accomplished as soon as we got ashore including checking in with the port captain, customs and immigration as well as hooking us up to the Internet I forgot to take the camera with me so I have no pictures of the our first day at the festival. The second day I have no excuses and just plain forgot the camera. I been meaning to get some pictures off of one of the other cruisers but have not gotten around to that yet!!! SORRY.
The Pacific Arts Festival takes place only once every 4 years and it includes all the South Pacific Islands such as Tahiti, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Easter Island, Christmas Island, Pitcairn Island, Guam, Papa New Guinea, New Zealand, Niue, etc. etc. We got a glimpse of all the unique cultures from these islands as we watched them singing, dancing and playing their music. The costumes were amazing as were There was also stalls which had grass roofs with tables set up under them where they were demonstrating their crafts and how they were made. I actually sat in the Tongan spot and pounded out bark from a tree that they were using to make tapa cloth. It was quite the experience to sit there pounding away on the bark while talking to the women who were making the cloth. There was a photographic exhibit as well as movies from the different countries. We did not have a chance to watch any of the movies as we were too interested in the live performances.
On Saturday I went on a 4 hour hike with a group of cruisers. There is a National Park that runs along the ridge that surrounds the Pago Pago harbour. It has a terrific hiking trail, we took a bus up to the top of the pass where the trail started and set out. It was an overcast day so perfect for hiking, not too hot!! For the first 2 hours we just gradually climbed along the ridge, some of the terrain was pretty steep but not too bad. Most of the time the forest obscured the view of the ocean on either side. Once we got to the top there was a lovely look out and we stopped to rest and take pictures. Then we started going down. There were many more steep parts on this part and the park had provided ladders with ropes so that it proved pretty easy to hike down you just had to watch your steps as you backed down the ladders.

This is the ridge we hiked, we took a bus up the road on the far edge of the picture where the houses go up the valley.

Barry had hitchhiked around the island to the village where the trail ended and 4 and 1/2 hours after we left there he was sitting in the shade at the end of the trail, patiently reading his book. The ocean was right there so we took off our shoes and waded in, the reef came up almost to the edge of the beach so we weren't able to swim. Arek, our buddy from Poland climbed up a tree and got down 3 coconuts, so after we hacked them open each couple was able to sip the cool, refreshing coconut juice. We discovered since it was Saturday there were no buses running so we ended up knocking on a fellow's door that one of the cruisers had met and we asked him to give us a lift back, we all chipped in for gas money and everyone was happy. This is an experience I will always remember. This home shows off a typical part of a Polynesian home. The ancestors buried in the yard of the home. This is quite an elaborate mausoleum but we have seem a lot of them throughout the Pacific Islands we have visited.