Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 5- Talofa (Greetings) from Apia, Samoa

Time: 1950 Zulu (0950 Hawaii time)
Position: 13-deg 50-min S 171-deg 46-min W
Wind: E 12 Seas: E 6-ft
Avg. Course: 257-deg T
Avg. Speed: 4.7-knots
Rig: side tied in Apia Harbor at dock(!!) B16

Day-5 was brilliant! With the past few days of heavy cloud cover, and some intense late night computer weather downloads, our battery bank had gotten a little low. Through the morning, we jibed the boom over to starboard tack to give Sunny, atop the dodger a clear view of the sun and hence the whole solar array improved efficiency, and the banks nearly filled up through the afternoon. Just after the noon point, we raised the main to triple reef and Tao commenced to race along sailing her preferred broad reach the whole way to our Apia goal. As darkness descended, we were briefly treated to a sliver moon, once again growing among the millions of stars. Aside from the general buzz from drawing close to landfall, the nights excitement was Shawn sighting a vessel off our starboard bow. It was our first visual ship contact since just out of Hawaii. She hailed the small fishing vessel to determine its course and speed. After a brief pause, a jovial Australian voice responded calling her "mate," saying that he his crew was on deck and he, the captain, had been sleeping, and joking that we must have a good radar for they're a small boat. That would be the every 15-minute horizon scan- they were 6-nm away and quickly passed us by. At 0200 in the morning as we changed watch, we dropped the triple reefed mains'l because we were going too fast, averaging over 5.1-knots. It was difficult to find the normal relaxing rhythm of the late night watch. So close to land and a harbor, Chris was highly motivated to do horizon scans. Slowing our speed worked well, allowing us to sail the last few miles into the Apia Harbor entrance in early morning sun.

We readied Tao for entry into both a new country and a new harbor- en route to the now required marina. We did our best to tidy up down below in case we did get checked in upon our weekend arrival. On deck we pulled out the haus pipe teak plug, attached Rocky, removed jack lines, rigged dock lines and fenders, turned on Yannie, dropped the jib, and finally hailed the Apia Port Control. We had been told someone would come pilot us in, however they just said to hail them once we had entered the harbor. A huge and beautiful squall reared up just as we lined up on our entry bearing into the channel. Big cumulus clouds with the sun behind and obvious rain, nicely passed behind us. Waves were breaking on both sides and we momentarily wondered where the good surf on Samoa is. To make the entry just a little more exciting, our roll call on The Rag of the Air net came up, so we checked in as confirmed arrival as we motored in.

Inside the little breakwater, Apia is a tiny little harbor and the port control waved us into an enormous slip. Historically there is an anchorage just inside the breakwater, but larger shipping traffic were unable to turn without interactions with anchored boats, so the harbor now requires a marina stay. We have not been along side since Mexico, what a luxury. It was all of a sudden so calm that it felt like we were on the hard. Once again, we find ourselves having thought we were making landfall on a Saturday, and unknowingly getting propelled forward another day. All of our information says that Western Samoa is on the same time as American Samoa, which is the same as Suwarrow. However, December 2011, there was apparently a change moving Western Samoa from UTC -11 to UTC +13 hours. We are now officially across the date line, one day ahead of Hawaii and 1 hour earlier. Luckily, no check ins on the weekend, so tomorrow 0900 local time we (and two other boats that arrived this weekend) will be visited by immigration, customs, quarantine and ministry of health. We hear there is a shower (fresh water but not hot) so we'll likely find that and recover during our quarantine on the boat before clearing into the country tomorrow morning.

[Aside: We apologize for any confusion about timezones throughout our recent posts. Unfortunately, all of our onboard information outdated, creating our confusion (thanks for filling us in on the updated Internet information Mum and Dave, not so easy to get for us) which we passed on to you. To muddle the waters more, we have also been waiting until very early morning to upload blog posts that were written over 12-hrs earlier at the previous noon point. Therefore, posts written on one day show a blog post date of the next morning... Clear as mud? Too tired to explain any better today.]


  1. Delighted to hear you're safely tied alongside dock. Rest and recover! Am sending hugs and purrs your way.

  2. SAMOANS... Do the humpty-hump! A-do the humpty hump!

  3. It was awesomely random seeing you guys in Samoa! Keep up the epic travels at sea!