After three very fast days under way we have made landfall at Tutuila, American Samoa. We covered 450 miles in three days – not bad for ol’ Ellie girl. We are barricaded down below, still running from stiff trades, with a big squall on top of us right now. We’re making 7 knots SOG and are only 27 miles to windward of Tutuila. We plan to be anchored in Pago Pago harbor before sunset.
We have set our expectations as appropriate for this place. Coming from pristine coral atolls, this will be quite the shock to the system. It’s a dirty commercial harbor with a tuna canning factory in operation. The holding is very soft mud littered with tsunami debris – we plan to use our Fortress 55 in series with our spade to try and get a good bite on the bottom. Bottom line is that this is not a resort tropical paradise and we are here for a reason – provisions, parts, etc. We’ll make the most of it, do some hiking, eat some American food, celebrate the 4th of July in an American territory and then sail SW back to postcard settings.
We’ll have to provide an update in a day or two on how it is here. For now we’re just glad to be done with our last multi-day passage for a few months.
Cheers from Samoa!
Lewis & Alyssa
14 33 S
170 17 W
***UPDATE FROM ANCHOR***
We are anchored in Pago Harbor at last. Always exciting, these entrances. We had almost zero visibility in white-out squalls, while being tossed down big tradewind seas and had to navigate by radar and plotter to feel our way around the breaking reef and into the harbor. We dropped the anchor right as the sun was fading and think we are set – or rather caught on something. We are a little too close to a POS derelict boat but he won’t mind a little bump in the night if we dance too far. I put out fenders and we’ll move in the morning. It was blowing 25 in the anchorage and still squalling hard so this spot will have to work for tonight. Hot showers were amazing and Lyss has the stove going with canned salmon cakes and some falafil – a much deserved feast after a hair-raising harbor entrance. We are celebrating with our last two beers that we saved for such an occasion. So cheers all!
Salud from Samoa!
Lewis & Alyssa
Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa
14 16.367 S
170 41.733 W
Day two finds us 230 miles from Samoa – halfway. We are running downwind in stiff trades and breaking seas. We smartly sailed SW out of Suwarrow in anticipation of finding the strong SE trades and therefore being able to run off W-WNW once in their clutches. Good thing because we are now running from 30+ knots gusting higher. The tough Mermaid just dropped the double-reefed mainsail (in the rain no less) as it was overpowering the boat and rounding us up. We are now flying 50% jib and making 7 knots SOG. The roller coaster ride is surprisingly comfortable considering the sea state. This is one situation where having a heavier boat pays dividends. I also think the fixed prop is acting like a bit of a drogue, preventing us from surfing down the wave faces.
We will try and put the awash atoll, Rose Island, 10nm to starboard before falling off 20 degrees and setting a course for the entrance to Pago Pago Harbor in American Samoa. We are hoping to make it in before sunset on Wednesday. We plan to stay about a week. We are having new Lifeline AGM batteries shipped in from the states [A HUGE thanks to Allan, Alyssa’s Father, for helping coordinate that]. Our low-pressure pump on our watermaker died and we are having a new one shipped in [thanks Rich from Cruise RO]. We will also do a big provisioning run – we haven’t seen a grocery store since Hawaii, two month’s ago. Alyssa is very excited for the grocery run and access to modern amenities such as a laundry mat and restaurants. We’ll also hit the hardware store for some new tools; ours have turned into piles of rust. It will be a much needed resupply stop before continuing on to Tonga.
Back to the roller coaster ride for us. It’s sure nice to have consistent wind, even if it’s a bit much. They say that ‘wind is to sailors, what money is to landlubbers.’ Tonight I feel rich.
June 30, 2015
14 31 S
166 33 W
7.0 KTS SOG
28 KTS WIND ESE
12-16 FT SEAS
We sailed west from Suwarrow yesterday and have covered 150 very rolly miles so far. We are still 300 miles from Samoa, two days if the wind holds. The forecast was calling for a big area of dead air and low pressure to form over Suwarrow this week so we decided to pull anchor and ride the remaining easterlies to Samoa. It was a great experience and I’m glad I was able to dive the pristine reef before it’s gone.
Last night was tough. Inconsistent wind and squally. Had to run the engine for most of it and took the sails up and down about a dozen times in between squalls. Tried my best to keep a good attitude but broke at about 3:00am after the 11th time dropping the sails. We only have 12 hours’ motoring range now. Good thing we found the SE trades this morning. Now we just have to stay on this side of the front all the way to Samoa.
Too rough to write. Will try and send another update tomorrow.
14 08 S
165 20 W
6.0 KTS SOG