The prop jets that land on Ta'u island have to be piloted by specially trained pilots to make a steep landing on a short grassy airfield. Just when you think you are part of a kamikazee plot the plan thumps and brakes wildly and you jump out quickly not sure what just happened, but it seems you are alive. When I was there was one small shade shelter made of tree branches where anyone meeting the plane might sit. Mango Mango International Airport is a variant on the Pago Pago International airport the big jets can land on on Tutuila Island.
The traditional ceremonial drink made from the 'Ava root has a sedative effect. Not quite like alcohol, but you can lose feelings in your legs and be quite sedative if you hae too much.
In the old days the village taupou chewed the Ava root and spit it out into the Kava bowl and when there was enough it was served in a coconut shell cup to each man in order of rank.
Now the same ceremony can be seen, but the root is pounded rather than chewed.
On most beaches around the islands the waves break over the coral shallows and then races back to the ocean through fissures or 'Avas. When the surf is running heavy these become rapid rivers and you can get swept out to the deep ocean in a few seconds.
Many swimmers get stranded offshore and every year some don't make it back.
Never fight a rip tide, swim accross it, usually parallel to the beach, then head for shore when you have crossed the current. The bigger waves can really pound you onto the coral and you can easily get scrapes and cuts from it.
In Pago Pago beware of diving or swimming - there are no rescue services and the waters are extremely dangerous as the picture illustrates - beauty but since the island doesn't have a barrier reef the depth of the water increases very quickly only yards from shore in some places. And because the Samoan island group is rather small, the Pacific currents aren't slowed much as they pass the islands.
However in Apia there are many excellent places to dive and swim - but again, get in trouble at your own risk -
In Pago Pago, try not to drink the local water. Bottled water is available, but AVOID that labeled 'Haleck' as their bottling conditions are less then what you'd really want to know about - And *don't* drink *any* dairy product with a local label, ESPECIALLY Haleck - again due to the unsanitary conditions in which they operate their plant.
Ottoville Road, PO Box 999, Pago Pago, Tutuila, 96799, American Samoa
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
Tafuna, Pago Pago, 96799, American Samoa
Good for: Families
Main Rd, Pago Pago, Tutuila, 96799, American Samoa
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business