Our crossing over to American Samoa was very quick. On leaving Suwarrow our fellow sailors on the other boats were predicting 4 days 3 nights. We made it in 52 hours. Mi Querida had clocked a new all time high speed of 11.6 knots and we averaged 8 knots for the entire journey. Leigh was rather chuffed with the boats successful crossing and we thought it was a good way to end our trip on the boat with a problem free smooth crossing.
The island of Tutuila used to be used as an American naval base and whilst that was up and running good old Uncle Sam used to pump lots of fat dollars into the island so therefore the roads and amenities around the main Harbour are all good and there is the obligatory sprinkling of the USA's favourites of McDonalds, KFC Pizza hut and Burger King all within walking/waddling distance of each other. Needless to stay we steered clear of these places like the plague! When the Americans pulled their naval presence out Tutuila and especially the capital Pago Pago they took most of the job opportunities with them. To balance things out the American government ploughed money into the huge Tuna Cannery in the main harbour. This is the self same cannery that we were moored not too far from. Along with the cannery came the putrid smell of the boiling fish innards that hung in the air and drifted in through the open hatches of the boat when the wind changed.
Upon arrival we found out that many of the boats that we already knew were moored here as people use it as a base for ordering parts and re-supplying their boat. During one afternoon in an attempt to escape the pungent aroma we went bowling with a few of the other boats and their kids. Another day we put on our walking shoes and trudged to the top of the island. For the views over the cannery and the bay. And just to keep our nostrils clean we spent time dragging out one drink whilst watching the Olympics at the sailing club.
We had decided that we were going to leave the boat and get to New Zealand before the snow melted. There were no direct flights from Pago Pago so we would have to get to Apia in Western Samoa to fly on from there. Leigh was waiting for parts in Pago Pago and the possibility that a potential harem of 40 something women could come and join him so we booked a short 45 minute flight to get to Apia.
So it was time to say goodbye to Leigh and the yacht Mi Querida. Leigh had showed us some places that we would never have seen and treated us to experiences that not many people get to try and who knows we may meet him again further on our travels but at that point our 7 week sailing career was over and it was time to sleep again on solid ground.