South Pacific

Vava’uom! – A Breath of Fresh Air

by Jessi April 20, 2015

“Why did we stay in Pago so long?” Goggle-eyed, we’d echo this rhetorical question at each other for the first few days after our arrival in Tonga, as we wandered from the picturesque harbor to the top of the mountain, to actual restaurants with fresh food. We were being suffocated under the malodorous glare of the canneries for 7 months in Pago Pago harbor when we could have been frolicking on clean, sunny beaches here. What is wrong with us? Do the people in AmSam know about this place? Why doesn’t everyone live here? Where can I get my next […]

3 comments Read the full article →

NOAA Excuses

by Jessi March 18, 2015

As newly minted gentlepeople of leisure, Dane and I were ravenous about attacking a whole island full of expedition opportunities. I busted out the South Pacific guidebook again, 5 months later, aired out the boat stink from it and found a description of a hike to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, pronounced “Noah”) air testing station in Tula at the eastern end of the island of Tutuila here in American Samoa. Supposedly, the air at Cape Matatula is some of the cleanest in the world, as far as carbon dioxide parts per million. Amazing considering that the tuna […]

1 comment Read the full article →

First Sail!

by Jessi March 9, 2015

Yes, we’re still in American Samoa. No, I don’t want to talk about it. What I do want to talk about: Dane’s first sail in a year! Doesn’t he look spiffy? He spent a while finding all the parts and reconditioning the boom, but our dinghy sails just fine when there’s a breeze and there was a good one yesterday morning, off and on. Now that we’ve got a little time to ourselves as we wait for some cyclones to get out of our way to Tonga, we’re going to enjoy our time here more. We’re intending on spending the […]

4 comments Read the full article →

The Kiwi Public Transportation Tour of 2014

by Jessi December 22, 2014

When the weather and our general lagging prevented Dane and I from sailing to Tonga in time for me to catch my flight to New Zealand from there, my family and I were unsure if I’d even make it to see them after they’d come literally halfway across the world almost just to see me. I say “almost” because, sure, it’s great seeing family you haven’t seen in several months, but with the bonus of checking out a new country. Regardless, we (actually my brother, the transportational planning genius) made it happen with much finagling with airlines. The flight required […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Contradictions – A Rant

by Jessi November 13, 2014

My sweet tentacly god, this place is schizophrenic. American Samoa is at once a vibrant and depressed country: where the residents are fiercely proud of their Samoan identity and culture, while also having become one of the biggest welfare states in America. A place where you can get a dental checkup and a filling, along with almost any other routine doctor’s visit for $15 total, but where the local McDonald’s has an “after school special” of a “Baby Mac” for $2 and where there aren’t even any McfreakingSalads for a little bit of roughage to go along with your meat(?) […]

1 comment Read the full article →