1720 10/8/17 Position: S 5 28.59 W167 39.53 (At 2125 last night we crossed the equator)
1525 10/9/17 Position: S 11 38.17 W 169 53.79
1705 10/10/17 Position: S 14 16.42 W 170 40.85 (We will cross the dateline sometime tonight and lose Oct 11th)
The 10th of October was our day in Pago Pago (pronounced Pongo Pongo) in American Samoa (pronounced SAHM-oh-ah) and another food tour. I know, I know, we eat 14 times a day on the ship, WHY would be want a food tour? Because it’s there and we may never have another chance to try these pretty exotic foods.
Six of us had booked a tour with Tisa’s Barefoot Bar (and beach) that included a native lunch and six more had just booked the meal. Tisa picked us up in a pretty ratty bus but it did its job and got us to Tisa’s and on the tour around the island. Well, not quite around the island—there is no road all the way around. She is a native although she lived in California for a while in the 60s so it was an interesting tour with Tisa narrating and giving us a bit of her history on the island as well and us crossing our fingers that the bus would make it up the various hills.
And nicest of all, she closed the bar to anybody but the 12 of us! Not so good for the dozens and dozens of people who heeded our on-board guide who told everybody it was a wonderful place to go for a drink and some time on the beach. Tisa is getting ready to retire and she likes to have fewer people, at most 20, for her meals. Great treat for us! We will be coming back through Pago Pago and Randy would like to go back (I’m not so sure!).
The harbor in Pago Pago is beautiful, if you can ignore the commercial ships and containers. It is a natural shelter from (most) bad weather. They did have a huge tsunami in 2005 and in the mid-90s that pretty much wiped out everything.
Onward to more South Pacific Islands…
1700 10/11/17 Position: None
1705 10/12/17 Position: S 16 23.98 W 178 07.18
For ship’s time purposes, we have crossed the dateline, but it makes a zig (fairly new, in the 90s I think) so that American Samoa is on the eastern side of the dateline and Western Samoa is on the western side. No idea why they put in the zig.
We are in Suva, Fiji; the capital, I believe—at $0.25/minute for internet, I don’t check so many things out! Nothing at all is planned. For us, that is, I think the entire rest of the ship is heading off for parts unknown.
We opted for a leisurely breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill (one of the perks of being in a suite: we can have breakfast in our room or in the Grill. Then puttering for a bit before just going out for a short stroll in the town. We have heard it is the largest city in the Pacific other than Honolulu but I find that hard to believe. Unless you look at the constant stream of busses into the terminal across the street.
We didn’t go far, up to the market—really, really large market!—with every conceivable fruit and vegetable and some I couldn’t conceive of because I’d never seen them before! We saw “ordinary” fruits like papaya and tomato, and extraordinary fruits like drurian. Drurian is possibly the worst smelling fruit EVER (also spelled durian but a drurian by any other name stinks just as bad)! I first had it in Thailand when our houseman offered me a fragrant (that’s putting it nicely) piece. I had learned that it would be very rude to refuse so I (figuratively) held my nose and nibbled on the piece (I think I actually managed to finish it) and thanks Tongsa profusely. Drurian, in Thailand, at least, are expensive and adored, hence the insult if you refuse a proffered piece. To this day I have never had another one.
There was a flower market and we bought a bouquet of ginger and other native plants for our room for what we would have paid for a drink on board—A drink, not drinks for the two of us! We were a little worried that we would be allowed to bring it on board but the woman selling the flowers said the Captain had bought a bouquet this morning. We’re keeping it on the deck as it seems to have colony of ants hitchhiking on it.
Off to Dravuni (no, I can’t find it on our map of southern Pacific islands—it is two miles long and a half mile wide) tomorrow for what Holland America euphemistically calls a “beach day.” Meaning there is absolutely nothing else to do on the island. Several people have organized care packages (first aid supplies, books, crayons, that sort of thing that they can’t get easily) and we may do that on our way back. Yes, we get to have another “beach day” in December when the Amsterdam comes here. O frabjous day.
Note to self: buy snorkel gear in Sydney!