We arrived at Pago Pago, American Samoa at eight a.m. It’s actually pronounced, “Pango Pango.” Our lecturer, Joseph Kess, has explained the pronunciation and spelling similarities of the various languages spoken in the part of the world. A few other tidbits of information include:
- Samoa is 98% Christian, 8% of that is LDS, and 20% Catholic;
- In early seafaring days, it held a much valued position as a strategic coaling station;
- The Tripartite Convention of 1899 concluded the Second Samoan Civil War, resulting in the formal partition of the Samoan archipelago into a German colony and a United States territory;
- The U.S. Navy took possession of the island;
- During WWII, there were more U.S., Marines there than Samoans;
- The Apollo 14 astronauts Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell launched on their nine-day mission on Sunday, January 31, 1971. The command module Kitty Hawk splashed down in the South Pacific Ocean on February 9, 1971 at 21:05 [UTC], approximately 760 nautical miles (1,410 km) south of American Samoa. After recovery by the ship USS New Orleans, the crew was flown to Pago Pago International Airport in Tafuna for a reception before being flown on a C-141 cargo plane to Honolulu. The Apollo 14 astronauts were the last lunar explorers to be quarantined on their return from the Moon.
- They have the highest per capita recruitment for our U.S. military;
- A seventy-two foot tsunami, on September 29, 2009, (generated by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that occurred about 190 km southwest at 6:48 a.m.) killed thirty-four people in American Samoa and caused more than two-hundred million in damage;
We hoped to visit their Ocean Center, but found it closed for renovations. So, we flagged down on the many colorful buses and boarded. Average fare was one dollar, but since the driver was continuing past the cruise terminal, we stayed on board and had a nearly private tour over a good portion of the southeast portion of the island. We didn’t stop at “Two Dollar Beach,” and understand it’s now five dollars to go there. We didn’t stop at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, though it’s been recommended by friends. It also has high ratings on Trip Advisor, so maybe we’ll try it if we make it back to Pago Pago.
A number of booths were set up at the port by entrepreneurs. We browsed and managed to just buy a magnet. We’ve cut down on purchasing souvenirs . . . especially for this long of a trip.
Back on the ship, I was able to have a form printed at Guest Services that I needed to sign and send to our financial advisor. She said the photo I snapped and sent to her should work ok. A premium internet package is ridiculously expensive at $263.99 for the cruise, but worth having. Those who don’t purchase one, spend a lot of their time in ports seeking free wifi, that is usually REALLY slow with so many trying to access it at the same time.
In our present location we knew tomorrow would never come . . . at least not October 29th. We’re crossing the International Date Line and jumping ahead to October 30th.