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Badger

Badger
In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail

Fantail

Fantail
At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Annie Hill

Annie Hill
Photo credit: Alvah Simon

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

About Me

03 March, 2007

Apia, Samoa







After 4 days and the usual night spent hove to waiting for dawn, we sailed into Apia (13° 49'S, 171° 45'W) on 7 September. The yachts were all alongside the wall and we decided to follow suit. It transpired that they’d been asked to clear the harbour for a canoe race, which the Samoans take very seriously. From the moment we went ashore to clear in, we fell in love with Samoa. The people are so courteous, smiling and genuinely friendly. Their own culture is still strong: men wear lava-lavas and families live in astonishing houses, whose pillared sides and complete lack of interior walls give a whole new meaning to ‘open-plan’. Every morning at 0750, we heard the ‘oompah-oompah’ of a brass band. The Police were marching along the harbour front to the Government buildings for Colours. As they formed up on the lawn, the traffic was stopped and passers-by stood silently to attention as the flag was slowly raised. The respect shown by all, in this simple ceremony was moving. Once the flag was flying, the traffic revved up, people started laughing and talking and the band struck up a marching tune as they police returned to their barracks. The ones in trousers were the women!

Food was affordable and shopping in the produce market a pleasure. You could buy a barbecue lunch on the street for £1: 2 pieces of chicken, pork chop, sausage and breadfruit. Cold beers in an attractive bar overlooking the harbour cost 80p – please don’t leave a tip. Colourful buses brought people in from all over the island and most people spoke enough English that we could have proper conversations. Several yachties hired cars to travel over the island, (Upolu) but Trevor and I took a bus ride from one end to the other. At the other end, the bus turned round and started back. The ‘conductor’ came and asked us where we wanted to go and was only slightly bemused when we said ‘back to Apia – we only came for the ride’. And the ride was worth it, giving views of hills and valleys, houses, gardens and schools and making us feel that we had gained a little insight into the way of life.
Trevor was once again persuaded to lend a hand, this time to a Slovenian lady whose small boat had every gadget (and would undoubtedly have been passed as fit for offshore work by the New Zealanders), but had a serious rigging problem: the compression post had buckled while she was motoring away from Upolu. Trevor managed to locate some steel pipe and some wood. Again he rummaged through our own supplies and fabricated a new compression post. He found a welder who was ready to weld it up, so long as Trevor could provide a helmet, chipping hammer and welding rods! Marjetka was somewhat taken aback at the speed with which Trevor got things done, but was genuinely grateful for his assistance and brought us gifts of wine, speciality coconut oil and a beautiful pareu for me. The rest of her boat seemed to be barely sound and Trevor was less than happy to see her blithely set off for Fiji.
We could now turn to our own repair: the gaff had a crack in it near the jaws, from the unfair strain imposed on it when the peak halliard strop had parted. The gaff and its fitting were aluminium and Trevor sawed off the cracked end of the gaff, then designed a better, articulating, fitting, in stainless steel. Once again, his friendly welder was approached and the gaff was soon back in place, better than the original.


It was now 20 September and with the cyclone season approaching, we sailed for Niuatoputapu, in the Tongan Is. We had a bit of a rough ride with winds gusting F8 in squalls and coming round so far S that we ended up close-hauled. There was a big sea running as we approached the island and located the pass, but it was so well marked that entering was straightforward. As we dropped our anchor onto white sand, a turtle swam by to greet us.

1 comment:

David said...

Just saw your old boat Badger in Caernarfon over the weekend and looking very good it was too, I took a photo of her, now on Flickr link is : http://www.flickr.com/photos/56897352@N02/7964235080/in/photostream

All the best,
Dafydd Penguin