Friday, June 19, 2009

Mt. Alava

After an early morning fishing trip for Jeremy and a sleepy Saturday morning for me we decided to go hike Mt. Alava with a group of friends. We decided to take Annie on her first out door adventure trip to test her skills and see how much of an island dog she truly is. The trip started with a ride in the back of Ned's truck with us, Shawn and Evan. It was a fun trip on a sunny day.
We got to the start of the trail where you can look down and see Fagasa Bay and the village of Fagasa. The trail is actually an access road to the antennas and the former site of the cable cars used to reach the antennas. SO the trail is not difficult unless you find walking up a mountain difficult like I do. We started the trip at 0' above sea level at our house and were going up to 1610' above sea level at the summit of the mountain. We did cover a good bit of this in the truck but the up hill got me, of course Jeremy and Annie were perfect, no huffing and puffing from them. Jeremy was kind enough to walk with me the whole way, Annie liked being at the head of the group with Ned, Sarah, and Shawn. The Brown Students also went along with us, so there is nothing like a bunch of college students there to show you up to really boost your ego.

Nice pose.

My face matches my shirt here, I planned that.

Annie with Shawn, Ned, and Sarah.

The views were totally worth the hike up, this is Cockscomb Point.

This is looking down over the city of Pago Pago

We finally reach our destination and there are stairs to climb, seriously? This is where the cable cars used to come to service the antennas. In 1980 a Navy plane performing during Flag Day celebrations hit the cable car and crashed into Rain Maker Hotel. A Memorial Cable wire still hangs over the harbor and a monument sits on Solo Hill.

Views of Pago Pago Harbor from above.
It was so worth the hike and I am looking forward to going up again soon.

Annie had a ball, she lost no energy, when we got home she was still running around the neighborhood.

The whole gang at the fale resting before the return hike.

Early Morning Fishing Trip

Here comes the Wave, Dun nu nu nuh, Here comes the Wave.

The first catch
of the day.

The blowholes.

The big catch of the day,
it was quite tasty.

Oh No.

Overhearing Jeremy on the phone discussing his outfit for court the next day, with Cliff, another Male attorney in his office.

-Hey Man I think we should either both wear pants or both wear skirts.
-Lets wear skirts.
-Do you have a brown one?


Friday, June 12, 2009

Aunu'u = girl overboard, a cave, an old man, and a blue starfish

There is a small 3 square mile island off the coast of of Tutuila called Aunu'u. The only way to get there is by taking a small boat over to the island. The village of Aunu'u is apparently populated by 600 people. We only saw one truck while we were on the island so it is a nice quite place to visit.On the boat ride over there were several families that had been to Tutuila to buy bulk groceries and hardware items. It is definitely a different way to live, having to leave the small island you live on to get toilet paper and bread. Once we made it to the dock at Aunu'u everyone was getting off the boat, children jumping around, adults trying to get their balance. Unfortunately a small girl got away from her mother, went to get off the boat and dropped between the boat and dock. Her father, Jeremy and another man instantly jumped in and started looking for her. It seemed like minutes passed before she was found fortunately she was fine but she definitely needs to learn how to swim. The poor mother of the girl was in a panic so they quickly walked home leaving everyone relieved and shaken. So the adventure of Aunu'u had began and we were off to see the island, we walked through a group of children playing and started down the path towards the quicksand. We followed the path looking for a spooky path through the trees to the quicksand. We were both thinking of the quicksand as a cartoon style sand hole you can sink into but not that day. It was a lake, Pala Lake, apparently it looks different depending on the tides. We were a little disappointed but Jeremy stuck is foot in the mud and he could feel the definite pull of the lost souls of Pala lake. Seriously. We came around the trail and saw this beautiful cliff with natural arches cut buy the waves. There was a group hanging out and enjoying the tide pools. We walked along the slippery rocks to get a few good pictures and check things out. And I fell. Pretty much anywhere you go around hear you must take careful thought out steps or you will bust it. The water is so clear here you can just look down and see the coral. No snorkeling gear needed. We stopped and had lunch with the group there, chatting and getting to know a guy from Conyers, Georgia, some of the teachers who were working in the area, and a Samoan couple. They were impressed with my Hi Ya'll comment. One of the girls took us down to a cave in the cliff where you slip through a crack and crawl through to a large opening where the waves come in and splash you. It was awesome and we were glad we stopped to talk. We have video footage but I have not figured out how to make that work yet so here is a blurry image from the cave.

Then we were off up the trail to see the rest of the island. At the cross roads we were greeted by a pack of dogs and 3 men. We stopped to talk and chatted with the man who had to be around 80 years old. He was very spunky and opinionated and I wish I had taken his photo. He talked backwards like Yoda from Star Wars. Meet I hope him again the next time we return to Aunu'u. We walked down the trail again through a more tropical type forest where the lizards and skinks scatter off the path as you make your way along. To the right of the trail you can occasionally see Red Lake below you in the volcanic crater. At the opposite end of the island from the dock is Ma'ama'a Cove where the cliffs drop straight into the ocean and the waves crash all the way up them. If you are brave there are tidal pools on the edge of the cliffs to enjoy but it involves a climb down and a good handhold when the waves come in. We saved that adventure for another day. On our way back towards the village we start to see the Taro Marshes, where they have been carefully planted in sections with trenches dug around them and palm leaves laid down to prevent weeds from growing. We stopped to check out some of the coral reef and we saw our first blue starfish. It was so neat and a beautiful blue color. Jeremy also found a spiky sea cucumber. Once we made it back to the village there was an impressive coral and rock wall all along the sea road where they had been stacked no telling how long ago. The helium tank in the tree is a common sighting around here. It is a way to ring the village and let them know it is time for prayer and reflection. You can hear them around 5:30 in the evenings.
I hope you enjoyed our trip to Aunu'u, we sure did. We can't wait to take you there! There is so much to see on such an awesome little island.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

East End Drive

A Rainy Day Drive during Memorial Day weekend.
A view of the West End of the Island.
A shipwreck with Aunu'u in the background.

Fishing in the Rain.

The last Village on the East End of the island.

A Pig family waiting for the bus in Masausi.

Checking out the view at Masausi

A very large cow eating a baby coconut tree in someone's front yard. There is also a huge bull in the background with his head resting on the front porch. And there is no fence, these a re free range cows.

A dog resting along the edge of Masafau Bay.

The clouds were beautiful after the rain stopped.