Day 97 – Pago Pago, American Samoa – August 26th, 2015

Pago Pago – 08:00 to 17:00

We originally booked one of the ship tours, but cancelled it last week hoping to find internet ashore. We wanted to Skype with our daughter and grandson again, and I am still waiting to download the new Windows 10, but at 3GB download, don’t want to use our precious remaining satellite time. Nope, no internet available, so we Skyped from aboard, which with most people ashore, actually worked very well. This will probably be our final Skype session, as we will be home in about 10 days.

Temperature: High 27C/81F, Low 25C/77C

Wind/Weather: SE’ly winds and swell. Overcast and occasional rain

Sunrise/Sunset: 06:32/18:17

Clox: Z-11 (no change)

Navigation

Throughout the morning Sea Princess maintained her WNW’ly course, arriving at the pilot station off Pago Pago about 07:00. Once the pilot boarded, various courses and speeds were maintained through the narrow buoyed channel towards our berth. The Captain turned the ship off the berth, being securely berthed Stbd side alongside by 08:00.

Shortly before 17:00, the Captain let go the lines, thrust Sea Princess off the berth and commenced the transit through Pago Pago Harbour. Once the pilot disembarked, a SSW’ly course was set at about 20 knots, through the Pacific Ocean, to our next port of call of Auckland, New Zealand.

Pago Pago

Pronounced “Pango Pango”, it is located on Tutuila Island, which is in American Samoa. A very mountainous island, the approximately 56,000 residents tend to live on only 1 side of the island, as no roads venture over to the other side. Primary industries are tourism and fish processing.

Activities

Expecting to walk around onshore, I didn’t bother heading down for a walk, instead watching the arrival from the balcony, until Judi was awake. At breakfast we sat with 2 other couples, with both having visited Pago Pago on previous cruises, so they hadn’t booked any tours. We chatted about their previous experiences ashore and what they planned to complete today. Their plan was to jump on one of the local buses and enjoy the scenery.

Entrance-to-Pago-Pago-Harbour-on-an-overcast-and-rainy-morning.jpg

Approaching Pago Pago Harbour on a dull overcast and rainy morning.

Approaching our berth at Pago Pago

Approaching our berth at Pago Pago.

After breakfast I walked around the Promenade Deck checking out the local surroundings. With no wi-fi available, we decided to stay aboard, so I headed to the cabin, picked up Judi and the laptop and we both headed down to relax in the Wheelhouse Bar. Shortly after arriving, the crew performed a IPM Drill (In-port manning). When in port, certain crew members must remain aboard to maintain a minimal level of emergency response and pax management. During the drill, an engineering fitter was using the phone beside the bar to clarify the requirements of his work order. The Deputy Cruise Director arrived and went to use the same phone. She looked rather flustered and did not appear to know the location of next closest phone, which was actually in an outboard alcove about 20’ away. Judi read her book while I got started working on the photos and videos received from Bruce.

With the dining room closed on port days, we headed up to Horizon Court for lunch. I grabbed something from the buffet while Judi got something from the grill. As it wasn’t raining, we enjoyed our lunch sitting in the fresh air. The improved galley performance continues, as my stew and rice was tender, tasty and even reasonably hot. After lunch, Judi nipped ashore for a quick shopping excursion around the local market, while I continued working on photographs.

As we pulled away from the berth we headed out to the balcony, enjoying the view of the mountainous natural harbour.

Approaching the big turn departing Pago Pago harbour

Approaching the big turn to stbd, this is a small valley that stretches back from the shoreline.

Departing through the narrow channel at Pago Pago with shoals close on port side

Navigating out the narrow entrance channel, with the shoals to port being fairly close to the ship.

Pacific swells rolling in at the entrance to Pago Pago harbour

Entrance to Pago Pago harbour, with the SE’ly swells apparent from when we altered towards the channel exit.

During his pre-departure announcement, the Captain alluded to possible movement from the swell that has not abated, as per the forecast. Judi can attest that Capt Kent was correct, as she started feeling the motion, even before we departed the harbour. As we cleared the harbour and then the island, the swell built, with a consequential increase in pitching and rolling. With no pre-dinner show tonight, we headed down to the dining room at 19:45. Judi survived the movement until time for deserts, then took a rain check to return to the cabin to lay down. Dinner was excellent, with Santosh bringing a plate of steamed vegetables – broccoli, carrots, peas and asparagus. I am pleased to say, the recent improvement continues, which our entire table has noted. Some of our table mates met a shore based supervisory chef that is currently aboard, so we can only wonder if this is the reason for the recent improvement. Regardless, long may it continue.

As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.

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