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Rich Tradition and Culture in American Samoa

White Sunday (2nd Sunday in October) Performance in a Local Church. Following Monday (In US, it is the Columbus Day) is a holiday. Tutuila Island, American Samoa

(September 8 to October 20, 2023) With the exception of the poor holding (when strong winds like 43 knots) in the Pago Pago Anchorage, American Samoa has to be the friendliest island we have been on and the happiest people we have ever met. If you smile at them, they immediately smile back. It is not like any other place we have been.

Plus a hospital (US Standard Facility) visit through the Emergency room was $20.00.

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Two Samoas: Americanized Samoa and Samoa

Flag of American Samoa

In the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, American Samoa is the only US Territory south of the equator. Pago Pago port is a strategic location and well-protected harbor. American Samoa is located approximately 2,600 miles (about 4,150 km) from Hawaii, which is equivalent to the distance from New York to San Francisco by air travel.

We are here in American Samoa to prepare for our cat’s import documentation for our upcoming voyage to New Zealand. Additionally, there is a US Post Office in Pago Pago, making it easy to send mail from the States.

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Sailing from Bora Bora to Pago Pago, American Samoa

Dashboard Decoration in a Local Bus, American Samoa. I love taking buses in American Samoa.

(August 30 – September 8, 2023) This trip marks our fourth-longest sailing voyage, covering approximately 1,200 nautical miles. We didn’t stop at the Suwarrow Atoll (Cook Islands) and sailed directly from Bora Bora to Pago Pago. John wanted to have sufficient time to get his shipping from the States. American Samoa has a US Postal Office and US Federal Government Offices.

We departed Bora Bora under a full moon but arrived with less than a quarter moon. We made a good speed for the first two days.

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Bora Bora Island with Shades of Blue

Motu (Flat Land) on the East Side of Bora Bora Island (Non-Flat Land), Society Archipelago, French Polynesia

(August 17 to 30, 2023) Our 90-day French Polynesia visa just ended. We picked up our departure documents and had our passports exit-stamped at the Bora Bora Office of Gendarmerie (French Polynesia Law Enforcement). Our next destination is Pago Pago, American Samoa. En route, we plan to stop by Suwarrow Atoll of Cook Islands, if permitted.

Bora Bora Island is a dream destination for many. We visited here mainly because of its fame and its location along our route to American Samoa.

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Coral Garden Snorkeling in Tahaa Island in the Society Archipelago, French Polynesia

Fish in Knee-Deep Water, Coral Gardens, Tahaa Island, the Society Archipelago, French Polynesia

(August 2 to 17, 2023) The main tourism hub in French Polynesia is the Society Island Group. It includes Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Maupiti, and other small western islands of Tahiti. It is also called Leewards Islands. These islands are easily accessible by ferry service which is fast, convenient, frequent, and punctual. Visiting some of these islands, I finally understand why French Polynesia is one of the dream destinations in the world. The weather is beautiful, the ocean water is a clear turquoise blue,

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Back to City Life in Papeete after Sailing to Tahiti Island from Fakarava Atoll

Outdoor Event, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

(July 11 to August 2, 2023) As we were getting out of the south pass of Fakarava Atoll, we faced strong winds of 20-30 knots and waves reaching 6-12 feet, making it an uncomfortable sailing for me. We set up the downwind pole and sailed at an average 6.5 knots to Point Venus, north of Tahiti Island. It took us 39 hours to cover the total distance of 252 nautical miles. Our plan was to arrive at sunrise, but we ended up reaching our destination at midnight. The sky was clear with sparkling stars,

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Fakarava Atoll for My Relaxation in Tuamotu, French Polynesia

Sharks along the shore by Town Anchorage, Fakarava Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia

(June 24 to July 10, 2023) Fakarava Atoll! What a funny name! It sounds like the “F-Word” in a cute way to me.

Atoll is a coral island, with a ring of coral surrounding and a blue sapphire lake in the center. Boats inside the Atoll are protected by Motu (“the Tahitian word for a small islet on the coral reef.”), but there’s no protection against Cyclones, though.

Atolls are just above sea level, so they are not very visible from a distance.

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Waterfall Hiking in Nuku Hiva Island in Marquesas

View from Hiking Trail to Waterfall from Daniel’s Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

(May 27 to June 19, 2023) French Polynesia (islands and water) is about the size of Europe. There are five major groups of Islands in French Polynesia: the Tuamotu, Society (including Tahiti and Bora Bora Islands), Austral, Gambier Archipelagos, and the Marquesas to which Nuku Hiva Island belongs.

As we checked in the Port Authority in Taiohae Bay in Nuku Hiva, I asked a local, how many boats cross the Pacific departing from the Americas (North, Central, and South). He estimates about 450 to 500 boats yearly.

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Sailing Four Weeks from Ensenada Mexico to Marquesas Island, French Polynesia

Crossing the Equator and Sharing Wine with King Neptune. We are now two Shellbacks!

(Sunday, April 30 to Saturday, May 27, 2023) At the beginning, we were excited about crossing the Pacific and exploring the beautiful islands of the South Pacific. It had been our plan to do it in 2015 and 2020. We didn’t do it in 2015 due to El Nino and in 2020 due to the COVID Lockdown.

Before this trip, I had sailed 20,000 NMS (nautical miles) and John had sailed 25,000 NMS. We had both previously crossed the Atlantic Ocean round trip,

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Setting Sails for French Polynesia: Our 3,000-Nautical-Mile Journey from Ensenada

Long waiting! We are about to set sail to the South Pacific, tentatively on Sunday, April 30, 2023. The distance is about 3,000 nautical miles from Ensenada, Mexico to Nuku Hiva Island in French Polynesia. This will be the longest nonstop sailing distance for us.

What will happen during this trip? I am excited and worried at the same time. The grand sea, sound of the ocean, countless stars, beautiful sunrise/sunset, free from the internet, clean mind, and just being ourselves! We have able-minds and plan to tackle obstacles whenever they occur. The rest will depend on Mother Nature.

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