After spending a full five days at sea, it is great to see land again. I must say though that I had a fantastic time exploring the food and entertainment onboard MS Volendam. The first port after this stint at sea is Pago Pago in America Samoa. With a visit to Western Samoa and the port of Apia the following day. Even though they are only hours apart by cruise ship, the two ports have a different feel to them.
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Arriving in Pago Pago, the reality was quite different to my expectations. I had expected the islands here to be somewhat flat. However, the island of Tutuila on which Pago Pago resides is rather mountainous. The way the mountains rise from the water forms quite a dramatic coastline.
The call in Pago Pago was quite long arriving around 8 am and not leaving until 11 pm. To get a feel for the island and the ability to explore a little further, I decided to take a tour. There had been a warning from some not to expect a lot from the tours here. But I must say the tour I took was quite good, in my opinion for a small island nation.
Part of the warning about the tours came in that the tour guides were high school students. However, our guide spoke great English and gave an excellent commentary, with a lot of information. One of the stops we made was to see a ceremony calling the spirits of the sea. We end up a little far away from the person performing the ceremony, but it was still a beautiful location.
There was a stop made at the home of the late Governor Taueses. It shows some of the local histories and outlines the impact he had on this small island nation. Along with the impact that his death had all around the world.
One of the other beautiful locations that the tour stopped at is Flower Pot Rocks. It helps to show the wonderful crystal clear water and great location that we visited here.
Relaxing Island Style
The tour finished around lunch time and after a quick bite to eat, there was some time for exploring. The small township has a few interesting stores and is interesting to see.
With such a late departure tonight, a small group of us took advantage of finding a nice spot to relax. We found a place called Goat Island Cafe where we chatted and enjoyed some drinks and local food. The view here out to the inlet to the harbour was the perfect spot as the sun was setting.
Apia, Western Samoa
At just 84 nautical miles from Pago Pago, was the next port, Apia. In some ways, it feels as if you never left the dock, but Apia is about ten times the size of Pago Pago as a city.
Taking a tour in Apia was I hoped a good idea to make the most of the area. I had slightly higher expectations here, but they were soon put to the test. While the buses were markedly better, the guides were unfortunately not as good. The guides were able to provide very little information and often did not answer or did not understand questions. But either way, I still got to see a lot of the area here.
The first stop of the day was the local Fish Market. Not the ideal tourist attraction I must say, but sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good. The second stop was a little more interesting and is the parliament building. It is a small building that is run down but is in a beautiful location.
The third stop of the tour is a local produce market. The produce market provided a little more of an insight than the fish market. With a lot of similar produce to what I see at home, there were a few more exotic items as well.
The final stop I think is a little more interesting at the Robert L. Stevenson Museum. The museum is located in what used to be his residence on a hill overlooking Apia. Seeing the home of this world renowned author from the 1800’s is very interesting. As part of the visit, there was a small display of some local dance and a kava ceremony.
Next Stop Fiji
I must say that I have enjoyed my time in both American and Western Samoa. However, at the same time they are not places that have the same appeal to return to like Hawaii. I most likely would return again as part of a future cruise.