11/17/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa
We finally took the step of consulting with a weather router(gives us the best info possible as the "best" time to go). His answer--no time soon unless we want to motor most of the way. There is just not enough wind out there to allow us to sail there. We'd have to motor a minimum of 150 miles(one+day) or as much as 450 miles! Yuck!! That's not what we want to do so here we continue to sit and wait. The earliest date he thinks we might be able to leave is 26th or 27th and that's a maybe at best. There is a big front that is headed south of Tonga and it might give us some winds but it's too early to know. With all these delays, we will probably pass on visiting Tarawa and maybe only spend a day or so at Tuvalu instead of a week. We will be quite a bit behind the schedule we set for ourselves. We need to be out of this area as cyclones are known to hit up here and that's one of the last things we want to experience.
So each day, we start out by cranking on the generator for a couple of hours to recharge the batteries and then take off for errands and Carls Jr for lunch. Use their internet as much as we can and then return to Zephyr about 1700 and settle in for the night watching recorded tv shows and movies.
The best thing that happened about our delay was that the parts we had been waiting for from DuoGen(in GB) was that they finally arrived this morning. According to the tracking the USPS does, it's been sitting(and still is) in San Francisco since November 4th. Guess you can't put much stock in what the USPS says as to where your packages are(gee what a surprise).
So, as I said, here we sit and here we wait. A few more projects will get done between all the rain we get every day. It normally starts about 0300 with showers, then off and on through the morning and then quits till about 1600 and starts up again. And please keep in mind, it's not the "rainy" season yet.
Stay tuned. We'll let you know what's to come. We'll be spending Thanksgiving right here.
11/14/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Well, our departure has been delayed. I spent so much time in the medical center trying to get prescriptions that I caught a cold from someone I sat next to or from something I touched. The normal--slight fever and stopped up head. Nothing too serious just need a couple of days to get it all taken care of and gone. Since no sailor leaves on a voyage on Fridays and all the Customs, Immigration, etc is closed over the weekend, Monday is the next available day of getting out.
There are some storms with rain between us and Tuvalu so we are looking at getting a "weather router" to advise us on the best time and route to take to get us there safely. It's cheap insurance.
We'll let you know how it goes the closer to Monday we get.
11/13/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa
As of now, it's Thursday for upping the anchor and heading west for Tuvalu. About 800 miles so a good 7 day trip if the winds agree. Reports are for winds out of the northeast to east with showers so it should be an interesting trip. All downwind so easier than beating into the wind.
We're still stowing the things we bought yesterday at Cost U Less. We had so much we got a big taxi back to the docks and it took two trips to Zephyr to get it all aboard. Then it was back into Puff and back to Carl's Jr. for more internet and food. Back home by 1700 where we settled in.
This morning was spent putting everything away(Tracy is great at this) and checking in with Customs as to how much time we have once we check out. Their answer was as soon as possible.
So the tanks are filled as is the boat so now we just need a bit of fresh veggies and we are set to go.
We'll let you know should these plans change as they normally do. I have a mild cold so we will see how I'm doing tomorrow. To much time in the Medical Center getting my prescriptions filled I guess. Sick people tend to hang out there.
11/12/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa
I made it up the mast on Saturday morning and then took off to get more "things". Tracy stayed on board and cooked and cooked and cooked. We now have 20 meals all ready for the next portion of the trip(American Samoa to Tuvalu to Tarawa to Kosrae to Pohnpei in Micronesia. In total, about another 3,000 miles of the same distance it took us to get from Mexico to the Marquesas. We should make better time since we will have the Genoa or Spinnaker for the trip. We've inspected and stitched lots of seams on the Genoa and checked the fittings on the mast.
Yesterday(Sunday), we spent some time scrubbing Zephyrs sides at the waterline as we have developed a lot of growth. Scuzzy on the starboard side and grass growing on the port side. No clue as to why the difference but there is.
Once that was done, we took off to do the laundry. It's open 24/7 and there is no waiting for a washer or drier as they have lots. Wash and dry total at just $3.00 so it's not to bad and the drier actually will dry two washer loads in one run instead of two as it was at Vuda Point Marina. We returned to Zephyr and put the clean clothes away and watched a show or two. I crashed just after 2030 since I was quite tired. Slept in till 0600. A long night for me.
This morning, we took off for just about the last of our provisions. We hit two stores(close together) and ended up taking a taxi back as we had so much food. We've been hitting Cost U Less on a regular basis and this time we did it right and got a ton. Taking a taxi was the only way to get it back to the dock. Tomorrow, we stow what we bought today(it's going to be tight) and go hunting for what "fresh" veggies we can find. Not a lot available on the island.
Weather looks good for us to be out of here on Thursday for the first 800 mile jump to Tuvalu. About 7 days of downwind sailing.
11/10/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa
About ten years ago, Sebastian emigrated from Uzbekistan to the United States. He did it all within the guide lines of the United States government and eventually got his "green card" allowing him to live in and work in the US. About a year ago, he decided to go on vacation. His destination--American Samoa. He wrote letters to the government of American Samoa as well as the US government and both assured him that there would be no problem with him going there.
Once his vacation was over, he attempted to board his flight to go back to the US. He was denied boarding and escorted off the plane. His paperwork didn't allow him go back the US, where he had lived for the last TEN YEARS! He was suddenly stuck. The American Samoan government said there was nothing they could do and the US government said he had "left the United States" and they wouldn't allow him back in. For the last year, he has spent his days sitting in McDonalds using the internet to keep himself occupied.
This last week, it was announced on the radio that he was now in need of surgery. The American Samoa government is denying him the surgery as he is not a citizen of American Samoa and is not considered a citizen of the United States(still has his Green Card). Apparently the rules that the American Samoan government is supposed to follow(according to international law)is that if they refuse to allow him to have his surgery, they are supposed to return him to the last country where he spent a length of time--The UNITED STATES!!!
Now it up in the air as to what will happen next. No government official--here or in the United States is taking any responsibility for what has happened to him. It's the other government's responsibility. Are we surprised!!!? I think probably not.
On a side note, there is now going to be a case brought to the United States courts about the US citizenship of people born in the American Samoa. It's been part of the US for more than 100 years. Apparently, you can be born here, have a US passport but you are not a citizen of the United States. Apparently, this was a policy decided by the US Navy back in the early 1920's when some of the citizens wanted to come to the US mainland and were denied access. When the original treaty was signed giving ownership to the US, the natives were under the impression that they would then become citizens of the US. No so apparently. Let's chalk these two items up the our respective governments in action. Or better yet--inaction!
11/10/2012, Pago Pago, American Samoa
Well, several more days have passes with more jobs getting done and supplies being laid in for the next voyage. We spent this morning replacing the diesel fuel that we used when we came north from Tonga a couple of weeks ago. We only have one 5 gallon jerry can so, with the local petrol station just about beside us in the anchorage, I motored back and forth till I'd brought over 30 gallons and brought over another 10 gallons of gasoline as well. Back and forth. Each time, I had to motor till I got close to shore, then stop the motor and kick it up and then row the rest of the way to shore. There is a small ledge of coral that runs along the shore that I already hit once during the last time I got fuel. This time, I was much more careful. Loosing one propeller was enough.
In the afternoon, we headed out to the far side of town for Cost U Less. We stopped at Carl's Jr. for lunch. All the cruisers have started a boycott of McDonalds since they have become unfriendly to them. First, they stopped the free wifi that they have had for a long time, forcing everyone to buy wifi from a local company($50.00 per month). Secondly, yesterday, they put covers over all the electrical outlets in the store baring everyone that uses the place as a wifi hotspot from keeping their computers charged as they use them. We've found that computer really like their batteries to be full of power. They seem to work much better that way. So as of now, everyone is boycotting McDonalds and taking the $1.00 bus across town to Carl's Jr. Word is already getting out on the internet about it. While there are only 17 boats in the anchorage, during peak season, there will be as many as 50 boats here. McDonalds has been the gathering place. I guess no longer.
Cost U Less was still filled with things we felt we will need for our journey and stay in the Federated States of Micronesia. Supplies and food, from what we have heard are quite lacking there. It may be a protectorate of the US, but things don't get there that often so we will have a fully loaded boat before we ever leave here.
Yesterday, I returned to the Medical Center for day three of trying to get my prescriptions filled. I met with the head of the pharmacy and she advised me that she would do what she could but their funding(by the US government) has been cut back and she has no idea what, if any, pills may be coming in on the next shipment. If she gets in some, I'll get a 3 month supply. At the worst, I'll get a 2 month supply and then have to find another medical center in Micronesia and start all over again. At least, some time in the next 6 months we should be going back to Colorado for a few days. I can get a full year then.
In the afternoon, I headed back to the True Value hardware store looking for some of the Thompson's Water Seal. It's made primarily for wood but also works on fabric. Many of the covers we have on board have had their water repellant worn off and it's time to get it replaced. While out, I also found two smaller tarps(6 X 8 and 8 X 10) to cover Zephyrs stern deck where we keep the Honda generator. At least this way, we can run it if it rains(does that a lot here). We've been looking for smaller tarps for quite a while.
When I returned, we changed out the oil in the Honda generator. It's recommended to do it every 100 hours of operation and since we run it about 3 hours a day, that means we need to change the oil every month or so. Yesterday was it's time. We're good for at least the next month. We also realigned the DuoGen so it faces fore and aft properly so when the wind flows over Zephyrs deck, it will hit the propellers correctly.
With luck and Mother Natures approval, I'll be going up the mast to check the rigging and attachment at the top. We want to make sure there are as few surprises during the next voyage. It's all down wind so that will make for a much easier voyage than the trip up here from Fiji which was either motor straight into the wind or with it blowing across the side causing us to heal over at a good 20+ degrees. With Zephyr healed over like that, everytime you move around, you have to hang on for dear life or you'll find yourself flying across the cabin. You sleep on the lower side of the cabin so you don't fall out of bed. The next trip should be much easier(we hope). If all our parts come in this Saturday, we should be out of here early next week if Mother Nature agrees. Stay tuned.