Category Archives: Pago Pago

1st February

O readers, what a tangled web, (forgive the pun), that some of you weave.  I mentioned in a previous post that I had to meet a guest and lo, the boards are full of surmising and conjecture.  I ought to be quite flattered; I have seen more comments in the last 3 days than I have had in 20 years; (not on my site, I refer to those made on others).

We Captains meet guests in all manner of ways, be it at a formal dinner, eating meals in the Lido restaurant or just stopping to chat as we pass by.  In this particular case, it was a one-on-one, pure and simple.

I thought I’d mention it in the blog so that you were enlightened to the fact that there are other responsibilities for my position, other than ‘driving’ and taking photographs.  With hindsight, I have learned my lesson and will keep it to pretty photos and general comments from here on in.  Anyway, the matter was amicably resolved and I’ve put it rest, as should we all.

Back to more important matter; we docked in American Samoa this morning, Pago Pago to be precise.  One might expect that, because of the ‘American’ nomenclature, we would see tall buildings, wide avenues and masses of vehicles.  Not so, the buildings are mainly 2-storey, the roads are narrow and yes, there are traffic jams, however not the type that we would be used to.  In fact, the longest queue that I saw was for the petrol, (gas) station.

The berth is in a beautiful natural harbour, (unsurprisingly) sheltered from the Pacific swell by a reef, which we had to pass on our way in.

Approaching Pago Pago around the reef

Approaching Pago Pago around the reef

IMG_0819The south-side of the harbour is occupied by 2 large fish-canneries, American owned and supplied by mainly Korean and Chinese fishing boats.  At anchor in the roads is a ‘reefer’ cargo ship, no doubt cursing that a pesky cruise ship, (2 actually, as the Amadea appeared this afternoon), had taken the berths and he had to wait.

On our port side as we enter, is what remains of the Pan American ‘Clipper’ days, a terminal once used by their trans-Pacific ‘flying boats’ in the heady (and early) days of air travel.  This particular terminal was used for the West coast of the U.S. to New Zealand schedule.  It looks quite dilapidated now unfortunately and the pilot tells me that some squatters are occupying it.

As is the custom here, after docking, (which Friso accomplished), both he and I were presented with traditional Samoan ‘ie’ or a ‘lavalava’; both women and men wear them and my first thought was that it would be ideal as a cool uniform.  There may be some reservations though, as it is traditional not to wear anything underneath it.  Hmmnn, a gust of wind at the wrong time could wreak havoc on one’s sense of decorum.


I have been here before of course, however never had the opportunity to go ashore; so, with camera (Canon 70D) and favourite lens, (24-105 L) I jumped into the agent’s trusty (and slightly battered) F150 truck and we went on a quick jaunt around the harbour road.  Stopping at various spots along the way, he asked me if I would like to stop and take a photo of a large, plastic tuna, (wearing glasses) which was adjacent to the canneries; I politely declined…

Back in town, past a small market, selling vegetables and fruit, I would have loved to take a few of the coconuts back with me, however; foolishly, I had no money on me.  Never mind, Fiji beckons and I’m sure they’ll have equally tempting ones.

As I was sitting at my desk, I was fortunate enough to have some visitors, dignitaries from Samoa, including Miss American Samoa no less.  This was a photo-opportunity that I missed, much to my disappointment; you’ll just have to do with Friso and I wearing ‘skirts’.