Saturday, September 19, 2009


We pulled in to Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa) on Tuesday, Sept. 15. In the next three hours we received three visits from officials: Quarantine Officer interested in fruits and vegetables aboard, Customs Officers interested in goods aboard, Immigration Officers interested in people aboard. The next morning we were told to wait for a Health inspector. So we waited aboard our spotlessly clean home not wanting to do any chores or pull out any projects because we wanted to leave right away and start exploring.

Solomon, the bored harbor pilot dropped by and asked for a cup of coffee. So we visited. Then the marina clerk, Tuna, came by to give us security passes and tell us the slip fees. No Health Inspectors. Solomon suggested that perhaps the Health Inspectors wouldn't come because their budget doesn't provide fuel or vehicles for travel to the marina. Tuna said that if they hadn't arrived by 2pm we could take down our yellow Quarantine flag from the rigging and forget about it. "only in Samoa," he laughed.

I started packing up our laundry, heard Brian talking to some people on the dock and looked out to see officials. Oh good, we could get it over with! But these officials weren't inquiring after our health. They brought a beautiful black Labrador and sent him to sniffing for drugs. He was quite interested in our garbage bag with old fish parts in a Ziploc bag. Then he "indicated" something in the general area of the salon. Bak, the lab's handler started a line of questioning about marijuana. Perhaps it was some Tahitian surfers he'd had aboard in July, Brian suggested. Regardless, for the next hour and a half, two Samoans with surgical gloves pulled things out of cupboards and bags. Through it all, we had a very informative conversation with Bak about drug traffic in the South Pacific, effects of the recent switch from "right side of the street driving" to "left side driving", politics in Samoa and the U.S. He was an intelligent, humorous man with a beautiful smile. When he and his associate left having found nothing, he said, "well I guess I'll see you around town," shook our hands, and left.

Our boat was in shambles. The salon looked like it had been turned upside down.

We left and visited the Robert Louis Stevenson museum, the mansion he and his wife lived in until he died.

That evening we splurged and paid 65 tala (about 45 U.S. dollars) to attend a traditional dance and feast at the famed hotel, Aggie Grey's. It was well worth it. The drumming, guitars, dancing, fire throwing, taro leaves stuffed with coconut cream, shrimp salad, sweet and sour pork were delightful.

That brings us up today which we spent attempting to repair a rip at the upper batten on the mainsail and visiting official offices for permission to depart to Savai'i ( the neighboring island) and then Fiji. Tomorrow we have a van tour around the island and then we leave.

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