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.


  1. I enjoyed this vicarious visit to Aunu'u. After 40 years, I still miss living there! For some tales of Aunu'u in the 60's, you can visit
    Look in the 2008 archive list
    George Hastings

  2. [url=]Furniture in Clear Lake[/url]:-We represent many Manufacturers lift chair, lift chairs, lift chairs Houston & medical lift chairs Houston and Many More.