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. Then we started downwind sailing with a small Jib sail and the use of a spinnaker pole. We attempted to set up the Code Zero sail but quickly removed it due to frequent collapse caused by waves. For nine days! We sailed alone without encountering any other boats, except for one sailboat shortly after departing Bora Bora.

The primary reason for sailing to Pago Pago was due to sailing with two cats. We want to be in New Zealand during the Cyclone Season from November to April. New Zealand requires pre-planned pet import documentation that takes months to prepare. Additionally, we aimed to minimize the New Zealand cat quarantine period to just 10 days upon arrival. After extensive research and correspondence with New Zealand, American Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu, we found the only viable way to achieve our goals; A veterinarian doctor in American Samoa can examine our cats and provide us the documents. She will also apply the anti-parasitical drops for both internal and external parasites.

As we prepared to enter the channel, John shouted “Whales!” I rushed out to catch a glimpse of the whales blowing in the distance. Upon arrival, we moored at the Customs Dock and completed all the required forms for the Port Authority, Customs Office, Immigration, and Public Health, including Pet Control documentation

We made three attempts to anchor. The first try failed, and when I retrieved the anchor, I noticed old garbage ropes entangled around it. I brought the garbage up to dispose of it on land. Later, John returned it to the water for some reason.

Pago Pago is home to the StarKist tuna cannery, although the “Chicken of the Sea” cannery closed in 2009. The constant sound of generators for the city, and the periodic odors (smells like cat food!) from the cannery are a bit unpleasant to deal with. Nevertheless, the familiarity of being in an Unincorporated Territory of the USA, where English is spoken, and the US Dollar is used, provides a sense of comfort. The anchorage offers a stunning 360-degree view of lush green mountains. John already loves American Samoa. He said that if the island had a city at 7000 to 8000 feet where it is pleasantly cool all year, he would move here immediately! We are excited to explore American Samoa!

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — By William Arthur Ward

Local Bus, American Samoa
Sailing Downwind with a Reduce Sized Jib Sail on Spinnaker Pole at Sea
Approaching the Channel to Pago Pago Harbor, American Samoa
Cat “Happy” Enjoying the View, Pago Pago Anchorage, American Samoa
NOAA Survey Ship “Rainier” at the Customs Dock, Pago Pago, American Samoa (***At about 3:30 p.m. PDT 5 Sept., NOAA Ship Rainier experienced a fire on board during operations off American Samoa. The fire has been extinguished and all personnel on board are safe. — Source:
StarKist Samoa Cannery, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Garbage lifted from the anchorage, Pago Pago Anchorage, American Samoa

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