Thursday, January 11, 2018

American Samoa to Fiji, Nov 12-20

Andy was instrumental in our departure
Onwards to Fiji 

12th - Finally got out of American Samoa!  Got pulled off the dock at 1025 this morning, getting a tow from Andy Wearing with one of his charter fishing boats.  We are now about to pass the outer marker (Buoy 1).  We 4.2 miles closer to Fiji!
The "Rock"

Pago Pago behind us
13th - Well, after we retrieved the tow line, we've ambled along with just staysail and mizzen sails up.  Took awhile to remove the bimini from the dodger, as well as the stainless support bar, so that the main sail boom had clearance to operate effectively.  Finally got main raised, providing  additional speed.  Had one more to go, and after another 45 minutes or so, raised our heavily modified jib sail, which looks like a small kite now, at about 1/3rd its original size.  It added speed but looks kind of funny.

"Safe Water" Buoy 1.  
We started moving along quite nicely, but our wind indicator crapped out again, so we don't have the normal wind speed and direction read outs on the chart plotter.  Need to get it fixed.  Got through yesterday and overnight quite nicely.  This morning's sunrise gave us pause, as we could see a 360 degree vision of thunder heads.  At 1030 this morning, it seem they ALL decided to visit us, one right after another.  This procession lasted until 1220!  We have never seen this much water fall from the sky for so long, ever.
And to top it all off, after the initial surge of high wind gusts, it left us with zero wind!
Our "kite" hanging way up there

So here we sit, rocking on waves, all the sails creating a ruckus as a result, and we're not happy.  We did, however manage a 24 hour total of 98 miles to this point.  Drying out....

14th - Late yesterday afternoon was much better after the storm and doldrums.  Wind finally picked up some, we dried the boat, towels, etc.  New generator (Yamaha 2600) got a few hours break-in time.  Sun set, stars came out, moon rose at 0250 this morning, and the sky was crystal clear.  Our Sayes Rig steered the boat from end of storms through noon today, and will continue on until we are close to land or need course change.

15th - Surprisingly enough, the past 24 hours has been a calm, good-weather sailing experience.  The only complaint is not enough wind to get is to our destination in time before the wind is totally gone.  We still have some 370 miles to go, and can't go fast enough to get to Savusavu by Friday as we'd hoped for.  So we'll just have to see how it goes in the meantime.

We're still trying to keep ourselves amused/busy while we're on our scheduled four-hour watches, which USED to be hand steering the boat.....A beautiful sunny morning.  Dried some towels, made 25 gal. water, heating water heater for noonish showers.

16th - Yesterday was about as good as we've ever seen.  Steady breeze, sunshine, stars at night....we both had plenty of opportunity to sleep and rest, as the steering vane took the steering off our agendas.  We sailed lazily at a 3.5 - 4 knots.

Data feed from our wind indicator on top of Main Mast,
which is supposed to get translated by our Chart Plotter
We were in touch (texting) with our friends Trevor and Kimi on Slow Flight.  They left Fiji about the same time we left Am. Samoa.  They were about 565 miles north of New Zealand.  They informed us they were in high winds, their rail in the water (heeled over pretty far) and were doing 7-8.5 knots, and bad weather was coming up.  We asked them to share their wind.  They informed us they had begun blowing some northwards.

The old adage, "Be careful what you wish for", slapped us aside the head.  At 0645 this morning, we had to disengage the steering rig.  It just couldn't handle the wind.  For the next five hours, WE were heeled over dramatically, and making 7-8 knots while fighting with the wheel to level off.  Then another gust came and over we'd go, repeating the level-off fight....and so on...

About noon, things calmed down somewhat, but the waves created by this wind will continue to rock us fairly violently for the rest of the day.  We did make our best 24 hour distance yet this trip, logging 116 nautical miles.  About 250 miles to go, with 390 behind us....

17th - Yesterday afternoon started deteriorating about dinner time.  Not going to build up on it, but by 2210, we were up the proverbial shit creek.  I had just gone to bed an hour and a half earlier.  Nancy woke me up by ringing the ship's bell and screaming "All hands on deck!!!!", and I realized we were hard over to port and the sayes rig was engaged but not holding course.  I disengaged the rig and relieved Nancy at the helm while she scrambled around below decks to deal with the leaks.  It was pitch black.  I was pulling the rudder to port as hard as I could to get the boat back on even keel.  Wasn't happening!  The wind just kept increasing, the gusts getting stronger.

Now I was getting worried about any additional increases in wind speed.  Our port side decks had disappeared and the cap rails were not visible behind the racing water.  Heard a few things crashing below and was awaiting our wind fate. The wait was short.  We got broadsided from starboard with ferocious wall of wind.  I couldn't believe that the boat could tip over further without us being knocked down.  So many things flew from their respective storage spaces, it sounded like a small house being turned upside down!  Nancy, hanging on for dear life in the galley announced water was rising in the galley sink...coming up from the drain...

Results of milk crate full of tools flying through our
 port side window and into the sea
In the cockpit, lots of stuff went flying, but it wasn't until the wind eased off just a little and flashlight was located, that I noticed a milk crate containing some electric tools and various parts jumped its barrier, flew across the cockpit, right through the strataglass "window" and over the side.  Looking back at "the wall" event, I could stand by the wheel, hanging on for life, and look straight down into the sea.  Pretty amazing stuff.
Tool box also took a hit, being dumped over "retaining
wall" at right

Anyway, fought this storm for just shy of six hours.  The prevailing westerly trade winds had started blowing down from the north.  This storm literally drove us 20 miles south to the beginning of Fiji outer islands.  It had the markings of a mini cyclone...a big entrance, a period of quiet, lightning, and a big exit.  

This morning we were forced to turn around and sail 20 miles north to get into Nanuku Passage, heading into the teeth of the winds that brought us down there, albeit, only 20 to 26 knots on our nose....

Just before we got to our turning point, we got slammed by a similar storm, and then a trainload of smaller ones.  Went through two as I was trying to write this...

Well, we have logged 605 miles now.  Hopefully we'll be at rest at a dock.  The good news is that, having expected doldrum conditions, these storms are giving us a boost....whoopie, huh?.....

First sighting of Fiji (outer islands)

18th - Just in case you were wondering why our track stopped, it's 
because at 2230, right after the last of a jillion squalls attacked us, the wind keeled over and just died...completely.

At 0745 this morning we're trying to struggle along with 6-7 knot breeze, squeezing out about 1-1.5 knots of boat speed.  Hope wind improves during the day or we might miss Thanksgiving in Savusavu....

The flying milk crate was formerly located next
to red box 
Some wind finally showed up at 1830, so got to point the boat in the right direction, trim the sails, and engage the Sayes Rig by 1855.  We've got about 13-14 knot winds from the SE and we be making 3-3.5 knots boat speed.  Got another 55 miles or so to go.  Just hope this wind hangs around long enough to get that far.

(19th disappeared!  We crossed over...!)

Clear postal packing tape did the trick buttoning
up the hole in the "window".  Hope it lasts awhile...
20th - Got nailed by three more storms during the night.  But they pushed us forward in 25+ knots for about 14 miles before leaving us stranded with zero wind.  So we took the slow train backwards with the current.  A couple of hours later some positive wind, 10 kt came along.  Sun rose, wind a bit stronger.

We are now about 4 hours from out pickup point where dinghies will tie up along side and escort us under power to the dock.  More later.  By the way, we've crossed the International Dateline.  It is Monday here, GMT +12!   We sent a message via our Iridium  email to the nice folks at Savusavu Marina:

"A good Sunday morning to you all, 

As of 0800 local time, we are located 20 miles southeast of entrance to Suvasuva Bay.  Barring any further assasination attempts by relatives of this morning's (0030) three squalls, and wind/breeze holds up, we might be able to get to dock by sunset today, with your assist....

Was wondering if folks worked today....?

Our position at this time is S 16 58.996, W 179 33.681
Course 296T
Speed 2 knots (+/- .5 kt)
Wind 6-8 knots

Will provide further updates via text...

We managed to get enough wind to get into Savusavu Bay, and with Curly's help with dinghy propulsion and navigation, we tied up at the Marina dock a little before dark.  We have landed!!!

"Q" flag is hoisted.  Have to stay aboard until tomorrow, when all the officials climb aboard and inspect and check us onto the country.  Then we will be able to jump ship and find some beer to drink.  We also found out that yes, it is GMT + 12 here, but it's also daylight savings, so now, GMT+13.  But it is the end of day, Monday.

We were treated to a beer by our new neighbor, Cookie.  We're tired and looking for an entire night of restful sleep.....

Tomorrow, we wake up in Fiji, securely tied to a dock.....

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

American Samoa 27 August - 11 Nov 2017

        Arrival in American Samoa 

8/27 - Crews from sailing vessels Terrapin, Slow Flight, Pickles, and MonArk came out to greet us at the "dog leg" in Pago Pago harbor, attach their dinghies to, Shakedown and guided us to our anchoring spot.  Some of them also climbed aboard, jumped up and dropped our sails and made ready to anchor.  

Outside Emergency Ward...luckily didn't need this guy to
get Nancy here....a Taxi did the job...
8/28 - Took Nancy to hospital this morning to try to find cause for her fainting spells (back on 8/18 while still at sea), loss of blood, headaches, and dizziness when trying to stand or even sit up.  The ER doc tested her and determined still bleeding internally...diagnosis: upper GI issue (most likely stomach) .  Doc also suspect low hemoglobin.  Blood taken & tested.  Low hemo.  Nancy will stay overnight, awaiting remainder of bloodwork and blood typing for possible blood boost or transfusion.  Doc told us all blood shipped in from U.S. American Red Cross (it's not local).

The path on the left to end, turn right, then first left.  There
we will find Nancy in the surgical ward of the LBJ-TMC.
8/29 - Nancy is in the Surgical Ward Room #7, LBJ Tropical Medical Center.  I visited this a.m. and p.m. This morning she was already hooked up to her third bag of blood.  Like at a gas station, they're "filling the tank up".  This afternoon, her fourth and last (for now).

She's in good spirits but as everybody does complains of lack of sleep....and no food or liquid, but she got liquid lunch of bullion soup, jello, and flavored water. She now has her ebook and mp3 player to keep her mind occupied.  There is no TV or even a clock.  The blood pressure goes on every 15 minutes during first part of blood bag then dialed back to every 30 minutes.

We think she is scheduled for upper AND lower GI tomorrow....I go in earlier tomorrow to meet the doctor (surgeon) before they move forward....

8/30 - Nancy looking much herself this morning with color in her face and hands.  Hemoglobin up to 11 (from 6)...thats good.  She got a Samoan roommate at 0300 this morning, along with as much family they could squeeze in.  She didn't like all the noise so she plugged mp3 player into her ears and drowned it out.  She now scheduled for endoscopy late morning tomorrow.  Resting up for it and stabalizing today.

We found out that the flat top peak in the distance here
in Pago Pago harbor is called "The Rain Maker"....
Meanwhile, I got us checked in with customs and immigration, then found a new laptop...and bought it.  First brand new one for us in 13 years, because....It rained overnight and the external keyboard I was using, the laptop keyboard having crapped out a month ago, got water in it and now IT is crapped out as well!......
Am on the way back to hospital as soon as one of our friends stop by to give me dinghy ride to shore.  Wind is blowing way too hard to safely get ours lifted and into the water....

Pago Pago harbor looking towards "marina" and town
Stopped by hospital again around 1630 to   check in with Nancy.  She's bored but looking forward to getting it over with.  Might get released tomorrow late afternoon

Getting the rusting corroded galley sink drains replaced.

I spent some time getting the lay of the land bus tour with "guides" Trevor and Kimi, off the boat Slow Flight.  
American Samoa's answer to Costco

Although smaller, layout and large-scale stock items
similar.  No membership required

View from Sadie Thompson's Inn, where we were having
lunch at the Goat Island Restaurant next door

Fuel and Waste Water plants

Another view from the Inn

Friday flea market near the Town Market
8/31- Nancy is back aboard Shakedown as of 1645!

9/1 - Well, what a turn of events.  Nancy gets discharged Thursday, I go to ther this morning with a 104 fever....had been increasing every morning past four days.  Diagnosis:  Pneumonia!  Spent almost entire day waiting for somebody in ER to see me.  Got xrays which confirmed the Doc's suspicions.  Drugs for a week...

9/2 - Nancy still get dizzy spells.  We'll call the doctor tomorrow.  Other than that, we've spent the entire first week at the hospital.

9/3 - Well, we are still alive and kicking....just not very fast.  Nancy still getting dizzy when she stands up...will confer with doctor on Monday.  I am taking codeine reinforced cough syrup, Tyelnonl, and 7-day treatment of antibiotics.  Mostly sitting around reading or watching portable DVD player (Nancy).  A couple of friends came over and helped get our dinghy in the water.....Finally!  They will probably be heading out tomorrow for Tonga so our taxi service goes away as well.  Good to know our "car" is in the water and engine works.

Been raining quite a bit and it appears we have some new leaks...the fun never stops.  I can't do much until the fever releases me and I don't go into coughing spasms every time I take more than a shallow breath....perhaps tomorrow will be better.

9/4 - Still recovering.  Should be able to get to shore tomorrow to pick up a few things.

The busses here are old pickup trucks that have a
wooden "bus" shell attached to them with 8-10 two-
person seats. 

You get on one, and wherever you get off, you pay
the driver a dollar (U.S.)

Some busses have exquisite paint jobs.  

You can ride a block or two, or up to 15 kilometers
for the same price

We had lots of wind here.  Two anchors out.

Holland America cruise liner shows up in Pago Pago
9/5 - After more than half a day of searching and bus riding all over, found the missing link and stove is now back in operation.  Dinner by stove vs. Microwave!

9/6 - Diesel generator decided to not start this morning, prompting me to tear down Honda 2000 again to complete the harness connection as it should be.  90 minutes later it was running just fine. Charged batteries.  Ran two more loads of laundry.  Rain delays extending drying times.

I went for bus trip to ACE Hardware.  What a refreshing change of pace!  It was fairly large (see mini Home Depot) and had a surprising selection of stuff....including laptops, furniture suites,  Bed, Bath & Beyond stuff.....taking Nancy next time for sure.
Hypalon dinghy full of water...note upside down fuel tank

On return trip, stopped at hospital and left note for Nancy's aftercare doctor that we need to see him soonest.  She still dizzy getting up.  Never know if I gotta grab her or not....for the time being, she's safe in lazy boy or bed.....I'm down to my last 2 days of antiobiotics...had to pick up some OTC cough syrup though.  We be hanging tough
The Walker Bay seemed perpetually ready to sink...

9/9 - Not too much happening.  Fixing electrical issues, taking local buses to various stores that Nancy had yet to experience.  Had to buy extra beer today.  They are not allowed to sell beer on Sundays here (Island-wide).  Very religious population.  Nancy sees doctor Monday to discuss her bouts of dizziness.  All that extra blood didn't fix issue, apparently.

American Samoa has lots of NFL fans!

9/25 - Today we showered and then drove the dinghy in high winds to the dock.  Walked about two miles for the exercise....then we hopped on a "Tofuna" bus (Tofuna being the destination, not type of bus).  We were going deaf from the noise (bass) from the radio (which is typical, but not this bad) , so we got off at the "Blue Sky" phone store stop.

The same building housed a Carls Jr. Burger joint where we went for lunch.  Way better than McDonalds!  Then we walked around the "mall" and, another surprise, found a miniature Montgomery Wards (2 story) department store.  I bought a couple of (on sale) local dress shirts.  Nancy was like a kid in a candy store.  BUT her purchases were severely limited by yours truly....we still need to repair/replace an engine, after all....

Then,  went through a new (to us) grocery store and were pleasantly surprised, as we found a number of things that weren't available at Cost-U-Less.  Then a quick trip to the Exchange at the US Army Reserve Center for a couple of small items and back onto a bus back to Pago Pago.  A good $200 day...even had a nice early evening on the "Lido Deck"

9/26 - Today was a mess....pure and simple....This morning started with a early gust of wind that seemed sure to rip our anchors right off the bottom.  I saw a gust just nudging 40knots.  Then comes a torrential downpour that was deafening.  This phenomenon presented itself all stinking day long.  To top it off, the two solar panels up at the front of the boat stopped working, and then the Honda generator died as well.  Meanwhile, trying to get wires and cables moved in the engine room so we can haul the engine out end of week.  Just a mess all day long.  Finally got generator going again, after about three hours. Day was done

9/29 - Month end tomorrow.  Who woulda thunk it?  Today, which was scheduled to be quiet and calm, was anything but.  All plans for said scheduled morning got washed and blown away.

We did live through it and it cleared up about 1100.  Nancy managed two loads of laundry and weather cooperated to let  drying on clothesline become a reality.

In between loads, took bus to CompuWorld and retrieved Lenovo laptop with new keyboard.  Works again.  Another short trip to town to buy bread, cookies, and beer (sun was still out!) 

Second laundry load hauled in dry just before dark.  Have appointment to see an official with Marina here on Monday....maybe we'll get a place to park boat to assist with hauling engine.  Meanwhile, gotta get at repairing main & mizzen sails.  We may yet have to sail out of here.

9/30 -  Got old Lenovo set back up to talk to internet (has new keyboard now), then we went to Post Office to see what the weekly mail flight brought us.  Just two packages, but we now have his & her coffe pots again.  Was a real pain sharing just one (since we have different tastes in coffee).  Also got backup Lenovo Stick (a cigarette pack size PC) for the movie theater.  We took those items back to boat and then jumped on bus to Tofuna, where the Cost U Less is.  Lugged the groceries back to boat.  Day just about over.  Rain on and off all day.  Glad we had our umbrellas with us.

10/1 -  Put on my Sailmaker's hat and spent most of the day repairing the Mizzen sail.  Eight of the 13 track slides had to be redone.  Big needle, heavy duty thread, razor blade to remove old captive webbing for the slides, and reuse for new slude slugs.  It was a pain, but needed to be done if we were going to hoist this sale.  Even found a tear in the sail, which got patched up with sail tape.

10/2 - Now that we've been over a month, I finally met with the folks that supposedly run the "marina" here.  It's a mess, but I asked if they could reserve a spot for us for around the 18th, for a week.  Was told to check back in a week....

We decided over the weekend that we've done run out of time to even attempt to haul the engine to attempt repair.  At the very best it would take six weeks, which is unacceptable now.  So we'll finish repairing the rigging and sails , get towed out into open water, and sail to our mooring ball in Savusavu, Fiji.  Hopefully to arrive on Nov 1st or soon thereafter.  Trip should take about 5 to 6 days.  We know they have actual boatyards for pleasure yachts there, so we'll take care of things there.

Annual party and fundraiser at Tisa's Barefoot Bar
We sent a limited Power of Attorney (POA) today to our good friend Paul Flyr in Port Angeles, WA to get our boat ownership papers turned in and a new one issued with a US Coast Guard mandated 12 digit Hull Identification Number.  We had attemptef to renew our boat registration online, as we'd done for the past 12 years, only to be  told wasn't gonna happen because of the new Coast Guard regulation.  And the only way to fix it was to show up in person at a Dept of Licensing office in WA to fix it.  Wasted a few shekels on phone calls, after idiotic responses to email inquiries to the Dept of Licensing.  Finally found out a POA was sufficient.  Gotta love our Homeland Security programs, for whom the USCG is now a part of....

The constant 20 to 25 mph (gusts to 30) is getting old, as are the rain showers.  Can't plan a thing from one day to another.  We looking more and more to getting to Fiji.
Chuck, Karen and Nancy preparing to invade Barefoot Bar

The "default" beer of this island 

The newly crowned Miss American Samoa made a
grand entrance with her entourage

Resting after traditional dance performance

Children enjoying the ocean waters at the beach

Returning from Barefoot Bar
10/3 - Another crap day.  Winds to 30, rain to flood all of the East Bay.  Dark from the overcast.  Just wanted to crawl back to bed until it was over....but alas, things needed to be done.  Spent several hours trying to track down a power problem preventing our VHF radio from working.  Weather calmed down enough this afternoon to make a dinghy run into shore to buy some electrical components.  Rain held off just enough to get me to shore.  Then came the one hour downpour.  Had umbrella with me.  Feet and sandals got soaked anyway.  During a break, hightailed it back to the boat, turning umbrella away from wind and destroying it by turning inside out...But the original issue VHF not resolved and becomes tomorrow's #1 problem.

10/4 - Pretty much the same as yesterday, but had to go in with two empty 5 gal. gas jugs to keep generator fed.  Kept troubleshooting the problem of VHF radio not working.  After determining appropriate voltage was getting to radio, determined it had just died.  Ordered a new one a few hours later.  Rain on and off today...plenty wind.  Looking to a milder tomorrow

10/5 -Nancy has bum knee (right) which has swollen quite large.  Lazy Boy for her with leg raised.   No rain all day...good...hardly any wind....better.

10/6 - This morning became surprisingly calm after an initial standard morning blow topping out somewhere around 30 mph.  Stayed calm until early evening, when we got an unexpect 20 minute deluge!  Guess that would be a tropical rainstorm.  Took about 25 bucket loads to empty the big dinghy....gotta love paradise.

Went to store earlier because couldn't find bread yesterday (at normal haunts).  Got back to boat (Nancy still has bum knee) and had a late lunch sandwich with new bread.  The Walker Bay got hoisted and dropped (gently) over the side, emptying the water that way was easier than buckets..  After reinstalling all the engine parts I had removed in preparation for a now "not happening" removal from boat, washed off the grease and grime, got into Walker Bay late afternoon, and started the long process of hull cleaning (mostly rust removal).  Two hours today was enough for today.  At this rate, 10 more sessions at least....all weather dependent.

Moving stuff around on deck....still finding flying fish now dry dead bodies...beginning to dislike them.

10/7 - We went to the Post Office around noon.  Way more people in line than we'd expected.  Anyway about 30 or so minutes later we walked out with only one box from our mail forwarding service.  The nice lady in the back(where we stand in line) told us they had not finished sorting and we should check again Tues (Monday being holiday - Columbus!)

Took our stuff and hopped on bus, getting off across street from DDW Cafe.  Good lunch spot.  Got back to boat around 1430, NJ watched Miss American Samoa pageant on TV while I went over the side into Walker Bay and did some more work on hull.  About 1700, we got HAMMERED with wind.  Hours later, we're till getting 30+ mph winds.  Even saw over 40 a few times.  One of our boat buddies broke loose and spent 45 min trying to reset anchor.  They finally did.

10/9 - Nothing happened today.  Locals celebrated Columbus Day first time ever.  Nobody in govt, banks, busses open/running.  Just like Sundays.  Wind/rain all morning until 3pm.  A 90 minute break then wet again.

10/10 - Today was pretty boring...a cruise liner showed up, we visited the post office, took bus to stores, and came back to boat.

10/11 - Today was even.less productive.  Another crruise liner showed up to replace yesterday's visitors.  Rain started right after its arrival and lasted until 1630.  Had time to run to store, and get back 15 minutes later, before rain resumed.  Expecting a whole day of rain tomorrow.... boring.

10/12 - At 0930, it has now been almost two hours of relentless downpour of tropical magnitude.  I had to drop the big dinghy back into the water to keep it from tipping us over more than comfortable.  We haul the dinghy up in the afternoon along side by a halyard from top of main mast.  Have made a three point harness for this capability.  Doing this reduces the amount of growth of barnacles, and other sea muck on bottom of dinghy and power train of outboard motor.  Anyway, there's so much water in the hypalon that it had pitched forward an was causing strain on the halyard (rope) holding it out of the water.  The other dinghy (Walker Bay) has filled up nearly too the top, partly because I failed to pump it out from the previous two days of (much lighter) rain. I did manage to get to shore to get 10 gallons of gas today during a lull.

We are leaking pretty bad in the galley area and over the navigation station.  Both are under lowest part of deck and I need some dry weather to try to stop the hemorraging.  Unfortunately, 10 day forecasts for the past week show nothing but the same!  Needless to say,  this crap has to cease.  The island is NOT suffering from a drought!

10/13- Spent lots of time with the red bucket standing in knee high water inside both dingies and bailing out MANY gallons of overnight rain water.  Had a meeting with a guy from MWR (Marina folks) named Malo.  He's supposedly helping us get a space in the "marina" for this coming Wednesday so I can complete rigging work.  Now we have another meeting Monday along with some other players.  Rest of day reading and falling asleep.

10/14 Today it was up at dawn, clean water filter, make 40 gallons of water.  Off to the Post Office....they had nothing but said to come back Monday and the will be done sorting the boxes.  So off we went for a hike down to DDW Beach Cafe and had lunch.  Light rain had begun.  We hung out under a building's overhang until it cleared.  Jumped on a bus and went shopping for boat parts and food.  Took cab back to dinghy.  Sun set 45 minutes later.  Watching TV and kicking back tonight.

10/15 - Pulled the starboard main cap shroud chainplate (started 0615- finished at 1035)  It got bent when a storm tore off our remaining kayak enroute Am. Samoa.  Took it up to Tufanu to Andy's Wearing's shop (Industrial Gas Supply) to get new one made.  Andy told me I could get it back tomorrow.  So getting up early again and removing  the forward upper and lower shroud chainplate to take to Andy's tomorrow when picking up today's delivery.

10/16- The morning was wonderous...nothing but sunshine!  Got into Walker Bay dink and spent a couple of hours unwrapping our port anchor's rhode (rope) from main anchor's chain. Long story.  A couple of hours later, was successful.  Done with that, headed to Post Office to cash one of their checks for losing part of an Amazon shipment.  Also picked up the new VHF radio to replace the dead one.

Headed to our "chinese" store for eggs, onions...etc.  We call it that because of the owners, and it's a small convenience store that's within short walking distance from dinghy dock.  
Opened door to leave and ran into a volley of liquid basketballs clobbering everything in sight.  So much for weather predictions.  Spent two hours waiting for a break.  Finally decided to brave the elements and head for sanctuary at McDonalds.  Got there in time to see the flooding which would prevent the ordinary man to cross to get to his dinghy.

So I ordered a Happy Meal and ate it.  Some of the flooding had subsided, so I ran for it just to find the dinghy filled with water, and me with a water pump that barely works....I had purchased a 12 pack of beer, so I emptied it and the cardboard box became my bailing bucket.  Got about half the water out before box turned to mush. So I just fired up the outboard and drove, half full of water, back to Shakedown.  Two hours later, we're basking in sunshine!  What a pain!.

10/18 - It's almost 1930 and dinner just completed.  It is POURING down rain, the generator doesn't want to cooperate, so TV is off and energy conservation in effect.  Most of the day was pleasant...very low wind, some periods of sunshine, 88 degrees and 85% humidity.  Went up the Mizzen mast to unhook top of broken topping lift.  Also found a small pile of problems to be tackled soon up there.

We took bus to Tafuna to pick up new chainplate and came directly back to boat.  Chainplate got light sanding and one side got painted with enamel undercoating.  The manual toilet had a hissy-fit first thing this backfired big time and blew contents of bowl straight and out all over yours truly.  After cleanup, used shop -vac to empty the bowl.  Something stuck in flushing mechanism.  Will address that issue further tomorrow.

The overhead lights in the forward compartment blinked and went out.  A couple of hours later, got it rewired and we got our lighting back.  That's it for today.  Good to have new Kindles for evenings like this.

10/19- Met with the MWR rep again about securing a place to tie up for a few days.  Malo again pushing me out and now wants to meet again Monday.  So back to the boat and collect the appropriate blocks (pulley) to install at top of Mizzen mast.

10/20- Although it rained during the night, the sun was peeking through this morning and hung around all day, for a change.  We had appointment to see Dr. Robert Gayapa.  A follow up for Nancy and just some Rx's for me.  Got our medication refills and both of us have blood work tomorrow.

We headed back to boat.  Both of us had projects...NJ sanding and applying Cetol to caprail and belay-pin holder.  I installed new chainplate.  Still needs coat of paint and shroud attachment.

While at McDonalds earlier,  we ran into some other cruisers....we all decided to meet for cocktails during happy hour at Sadie's Hotel, which is just across street from marina.  We showed up about 1730 and found everybody already there (apparently happy hour started at 1600).  Had a great time telling stories and sharing boat tales and knowledge.  A good day.

10/21- Another day has come and gone.  We got up early to catch a bus to the hospital to get our blood drawn.  On the way back, stopped at DDW Beach Cafe for breakfast.  Then we took a casual walk to the post office, about 3/4 mile,  Nancy tripped on the curb after crossing street, and fell onto the sidewalk.  No physical injuries, thank goodness, but a few scratches that needed attention .  Patiently waited in line for 1100 to roll around and the back doors to open.  Door opened and everyone was informed the cargo plane was delayed and wouldn't be arriving until this afternoon.  Back to P.O. Monday....

10/22 - At 2pm, drove dinghy over to the docks to help tow a friend's (Chuck & Karen) sailboat away from the boat he was rafted up to for a couple of days.  The wind was blowing pretty hard, pinning him to the other sailboat.  Grabbed his tow line from the bow, rigged up a towing rig for the dinghy, and tied tow line to it.  All was good as they called for me to pull the bow out.  Everything went well for about 15 seconds, at which time they realized they hadn't dropped (untied) a third line to the dock that was apparently forgotten.  The scramble began, the wind was pushing me towards the rear of their boat.  I had to pull in their tow line to get me back up front where I belonged.  The shout came to pull before they hit the boat behind them.  So I did, a little too quickly.  The tow line went taught quickly but when I threw out my towing rig, only one side made it over the outboard, the other side wrapped around front.  Needless to say, it was neither a pretty sound or sight.  The pressure on the front of the outboard was immense, and that part of the towing rig did some damage to the outboard.  

Managed to get the sailboat off, dropped their tow line, and soon thereafter, outboard died due to wounds received in battle (fuel line disconnect).  Another boater friend offered to tow me back to Shakedown.  I accepted.  About 30 seconds after towing operations began, HIS outboard died.  Some 25 minutes later, the skipper (Chuck) of the sailboat that was pulled away, came by in his dinghy and ended towing both disabled dinghies to our respective boats.

10/23- This morning I spent about 4 hours working a fix for the receiving end of the plug that connects fuel hose from gas tank to the outboard's motor.  What fun gluing two pieces of the marelon bracket together and then fabricating a metal backing plate for support.  Our "car" is in operation once again.

We then took the newly repaired dinghy to shore, visited the post office, then stopped by a store and bought Nancy some locally grown clothes, then beer, then hardware store for a hose clamp, then visited with the folks at MWR again about getting a spot in their "marina".  We were told to pull in tomorrow morning.  So we'll try that.
Returning from our little party at Barefoot Bar

We got a fair amount of downpours throughout the day, intermingled with sunshine.  Getting proficient bailing out the dink.  Anyway, got back to boat around 1630, made water, pumped out, hung up the dink, had a brief period on our "Lido Deck" until another shower forced us below, dinner and a smidgen TV.  Day is done.

Pig roast along the coast

Shakedown tied up
10/24- We are now tied to a quay near the marina.  It took more than an hour and a half to get an anchor up.  We cut the line to the other anchor and tied a buoy to it for later retrieval.  Long day.  Were supposed to do this at 0800.  Actual time was 1630.  Long story....So, this is first time in almost eight months that we're on a dock.  Lots of work in the upcoming 7 days.

Annual 50-crew canoe race

10/30- Woke up to another raging storm; torrential rain, big winds (40 knot gusts), rough seas inside harbor.   It calmed down around 1000 and we hopped onto a bus for Nancy's 1030 Dr. appointment to schedule a procedure (colonoscopy) on Wednesday morning to make sure internal bleeding had indeed stopped.

We're getting pretty beat up at the dock and I can't get much done as far as boat projects go....and they keep multiplying.  Drain motor in Maytag washer stop working, preventing door from opening.   Nancy lost a pearl earring in the bilge back aft.  Had to bail out both dinghies, which were both full of water.  Another bus trip to hospital pharmacy to pick up a 4 liter container of fleet for tomorrow evening's drinking pleasure.  Back to hospital by 0800 Wednesday for a 0930 photo shoot of lower gastric tract (colon).  So today she's on a liquid diet, as well as tomorrow.  Broth for her, Spaghetti for me.  bug juice for both of us.

10/31-  We had a few more light showers throughout the day but enough dry time to finally get the topping lift on mizzen mast/boom replaced.  Climbed up the mast only to find my shackles didn't fit by about a millimeter.  Climbed down, took off my climbing gear and went to the local hardware store.  They did not have what I was looking for (as was case in numerous visits) but I cobbled a couple of things that I hoped would, at least temporarily, do the trick.  Climbed the mast again.  It worked.  Climbed back down.  Had to spend a little time getting the boom end right, but now have new topping lift doing its duty (holding the boom up).

Live tree carving
Bought a new portable generator today.  It's a Yamaha 2600, which is a little more powerful than the Honda EU2000, and will be a great backup to the Honda.  Our diesel genset is kaput until starter/solenoid, and oil switch can be replaced.  Nancy is busy taking her 4 liters of "go" juice in preparation for tomorrow morning's colonoscopy.  Whoopie!

Hayden Museum across from US Post Office

This was the first and last time we saw this tree....
it was chopped up and removed from the premises!

Mural at the entrance to muse

Across the street from the museum...U.S. Post Office

11/1- Whadda day!  Got up at 0600 and got showers out of the way.  Left boat at 0730 to be at set appointment at 0800 to check, get vitals, etc.  Then we waited, in really cold waiting area (they like their AC) until after 1130....procedure scheduled for 0930...then resked to 1115 or so.  With procedure completed, finally got out of there around 1315, jumped on a bus and headed for DDW Beach Cafe for lunch, where Nancy got to order a ribeye steak (and doggie bagging over half of it).  The results of the procedure were good.
View from the "other" side of harbor.  Shakedown
in the background, marina off to left

An unexpected storm hit us from the "wrong direction" so had to add some more bungee cords to our tarps.  Also paid for another 8 days at the dock.  Hopefully the system that has the area void of wind clears out in that time span.  Besides, not finished with rigging repairs.

11/2 - Having gone up the mizzen mast a total of four times (pant, pant) the mizzen sail is mounted once again and ready for duty.  Lazy jack (starboard) has been put back into service as well.  Beer on the Lido Deck

11/3- Yesterday was hot and calm and mostly sunny.  The project was to sew the six track slides back on to the main sail this time, having had LOTS of practice on the mizzen track slides.  Only took about four hours of uninterrupted effort to complete this project.  Another hour to get everything back to where it belonged.  Now we have have three sails ready to go.  Just need to climb to top of main mast to put the jib halyard back through the block up there and re-attach it to the jib sail.  Our friend Chuck (owner of the sailboat we pulled away from the docks) came over and copied more of our movies.  We shared leftovers with him and had a few more beers than we should have.

11/4 - Awoke this morning with fuzzy brain.  There was zero wind, so went out and raised the mizzen sail, with intention to bring it down in an orderly fashion as it should be.  But, as usual, I got stymied once again as a 10 knot wind, from wrong direction, magically arrived and prevented my planned flaking of the sail as I lowered it.  I ended up just dropping it and will be repeating the event later.  Then we went shopping, getting back in time to join a farewell party for some of our cruising buddies who are heading out on Monday for the Marshall Islands for Cyclone season.

11/6 - Overcast and showers marked this entire day.  Grabbed umbrella after friend Chuck came over, and were offered by another friend, Greg of sailboat Beach Flea, a ride in his van out to CompuWorld.  Chuck needed a quick repair on his laptop, as he and Karen are sailing away tomorrow for the Marshall Islands.  I needed a new wifi adapter, but no luck there.  We then caught bus to Ace Hardware to get find some hose connectors, a new small frying pan, and another bath towel.  
One of American Samoa's famous landmarks (rock)

We then bussed it back towards town, stopping at Carls Junior for lunch.  Chuck was killing time while the techs were diagnosing his laptop.After lunch, back on bus, stopping to drop Chuck off and me continuing on to the Post Office to find a new drain pump for the Maytag washer waiting for me.

11/7- This morning's GRIB download showed favorable winds starting Saturday and forecasted to hang around until we arrive Savusavu, Fiji, some 1100 kilometers west-southwest.  So, looks like we leave here Saturday morning (fingers crossed).  And since Friday is a holiday, which I accidentally found out today, have to check out of the country Thursday....

Got up the main mast right after lunch today, rained all morning, and got the jib halyard re-hung through the block (pulley) from which it had unravelled.  Got the jib sail hanked onto the forestay and all is well there.  Now ALL four of our sails are ready to play!  (Actually, it's only 3.5 sails, as the lower half of the jib was cut away in the Nuku Hiva repair...)

Have bilge pump issues to deal with, washing machine, VHF radio to install, and dinghies to clean and get aboard.  To say nothing of having to put everything away....including a couple of large tarps.
They did a nice job after the coastal road was
destroyed by the Fukushima Tsunami

11/8 - Got lots of things done today, starting with a 0530 replacing a bungee for the front starboard mooring line.  Later, off we went in a mini bus to the laundromat to get what we needed to get cleaned.  Washing machine will be fixed in triage fashion.  Have more important jobs first.  Nancy came back from laundry place (our Maytag still out of commission), I had finished scraping barnacles off both dinghies, so we went across the street to Sadies and had lunch.  Back onboard, time to get the decks cleared and get both dinghies aboard.  Got it done by 1630...Time for the Lido Deck.

View from a bus heading to Tafuna

The highway running along coast of Am. Samoa

Flooding view from "Chinese Store"

11/10-Hopefully last update from American Samoa.  Boat is mostly ready, weather mostly favorable, our tow-boat (Andy Wearing) will pull us off the dock at 1000 tomorrow morning and take us out past the reef to the "safe water" buoy.  We hope to make Savasavu in six days, should the winds behave as predicted.  

We asked what DDW was short for....the response:

11/11 Underway at 1045!!!