September 14

Today we rented a car and drove around the island. It was really great. Independent Samoa is pretty pastoral island. All the villages are neat and tidy. Lots of waterfalls in the interior. Everywhere flowers are planted and yards picked up, people working on the land every where we looked. It is clearly a poorer island than American Samoa but with a very different attitude towards the landscape not to mention the population is on the average a good 50 pounds lighter than the average American Samoan. There are fabulous beaches on the other side of the island - but it was rainy on the Southern side of the island so we couldn't really hang out. We found a lovely place to eat lunch and watched the surf thunder in and the rain pour down. All the beaches are private so if you want to walk on the beach you have to pay the owners - who are always there ready to collect. It only costs 2 tale which is around $0.75 US. There are no public beaches which is kind of odd from our perspective but the norm in most of the Pacific. Land is valuable - islands are crowded places and land rights are taken very seriously.

We were going to stay at a nice hotel and spoil ourselves - pool, watch TV to see the news, and let Jonah take baths (he really misses a bathtub). Well - it was raining, there was no TV, the room was shabby and there was no bathtub. We decided to skip and drove back to the boat. I am so glad we came back. Wise choice. It would have been nice to have a change but it just didn't work out.

Yesterday I went with Scafog (the Danish boat) and Abel Tasman (Canadian boat) to some small water falls where you can slide down the rocks called appropriately "Sliding Rocks". Both of the boats have kids and it was a great time for the kids. The water in the pools was a bit low so it hurt for the adults to slide into them but the kids loved it. It was a bit dangerous (it wouldn't be allowed in the US) so we only allowed the kids a couple of runs and then they just played in the pools at the bottom of the waterfalls. We had Scafog over for dinner - Anders and Anetta and their two lovely children, Victor (7) and Emma (9). Jordan cooked an Indian feast and we had a lovely time.

We will go to Savai'I on Monday. It is called the Big Island and is also part of Independent Samoa. Hawai'i is (supposedly) named after this island. The Polynesian settlers of Hawaii hailed originally from Samoa.