Pago Pago, American Samoa

                                                  The Flower Pot Rocks, Pago Pago, American Samoa

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States which is made up of five main islands plus two coral atolls in the South Pacific, to the southeast of Samoa.  The ship stops at Tutuila, the island where the capital city, Pago Pago, is located.  

This was a return visit for us.  Our excursion was about the myths and legends of Tutuila.  For those who are not familiar with this island, Pago Pago is pronounced “Pang-o Pang-o.  There are many interesting legends about American Samoa.  Although they are now separate countries, American Samoa and Western Samoa were once one country.  The language and customs are the same, and there are families which are split between the two countries.

One of the legends is about the ‘Flowerpot Islands’ a couple of small islets right up against the coastline.  The legend is that they were once a couple who was scheduled to be the victims of the Samoan king’s secret cannibalism.  They escaped from Samoa and swam toward the island of Tutuila, but perished shortly before reaching the island.  The tall island is the man, the shorter island is the woman.

Our tour took us to the area called sliding rocks, which people once used to slide into the ocean.  While there we spotted three sea turtles.  Given how roughly the waves were breaking on the rocks, we had to conclude that they are very strong swimmers.  We also stopped at the first Christian church founded on the island by a missionary named John Williams.  We went to a museum that is the former home of the island’s most beloved governor, Governor Tauese, which does a great job of keeping his memory alive.  While there the guides for our three buses entertained us with singing to ukelele accompaniment.  Their music was very pleasant.  

NOAA Maritime Museum Presentation Globe

We also went to the NOAA Maritime Museum, where we learned about sea life around the American Samoan Islands, and saw a video presentation that was projected onto a globe.  The final stop on our tour was at the Jean Haydon museum, which is right next to where the ship docks.  This museum has an interesting collection of canoes, traditional weapons, and a small natural history section, which was useful to people who like to be able to identify the plants they see.

We were pleased to have a bright, sunny day for our visit.  We have not forgotten the deluge of rain we were caught in on our last visit, so even though it was hot and the humidity very high, it was still better than heavy rain.  Be sure to check out our photo album to see more of Pago Pago.

American Samoa has become a popular stop, at least for Holland America Line cruise ships.  Although we have enjoyed our visits, it seems like we have seen almost everything of interest.  There is a national park which would be worth a visit if we find ourselves here again.

© Susan L. Stone 2015