(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. That included talking to the Dr, a blood test, another Dr. visit a day and a half later. If that does not amaze you, then nothing does. It sometimes takes a long wait though.
Having a US Post Office is wonderful. We received five boxes out of six packs. One was shipped by a boat by someone’s mistake in a USPS mainland. We were informed it usually takes 8-12 weeks so we arranged the local post office to return. This was sent by priority mail. Now, it needs to be sent back to the USA. John’s friend has to re-send it to New Zealand after he gets it as it contains some boat parts.
I was impressed by the availability of Korean Kimchi and various Korean foods in the groceries. I was told there are 120 Koreans living on the island. I visited two Laundromats. Both are owned by Chinese. It seems lots of Asians run business on the island. One thing I didn’t understand is that some people don’t bother to learn English, a common language in American Samoa. A simple sentence like “What time do you open tomorrow?”, I repeatedly got an answer “OK” even after showing “a clock on my phone” in order to communicate.
American Samoa amazingly keeps their tradition and cultures in this fast changing world. Both John and I like them. One of the unique traditions is that many houses have a graveyard in their front yard. One told me this is a newer tradition. The land is a communal property (like family owned). They lease the land (sometimes just on the paper writing $1) and build houses. My guess is that if you have your family graveyard, the land unofficially belongs to you. We were also told, this is a tradition where their kids can remember their ancestors everyday.
Staying on a sailboat for six weeks was not an easy experience though due to frequent rain, strongly funneled winds at the anchorage, smell from the cannery, noisy in the harbor, and diesel fumes by cargo/tanker/cruise ships. The islands are beautiful but we were limited to anchor in Pago Pago as we were told by other boats.