August 18-19, 2005
This was a relatively quick and painless trip for us. We figured it would be about 80 miles, and we can count on averaging at least 5 miles per hour, so we planned 16 hours for this leg. We left late in the afternoon planning to sail through the night and arrive Apia, Western Samoa in the morning.
We were a bit anxious about getting our anchor up in Pago Pago. We worried that we would be hopelessly entangled in the fouled bottom, and we dreaded the thought of having to dive to free it. But if we had to dive on it, we wanted to do it before dark. However, dark would not have made any difference since we had had heavy rains for about 24 hours, and the harbor was a huge mud puddle. If we had to dive, it would be by Braille. Visibility was zero. There were a few slightly tense moments when the windlass groaned a bit, but the anchor came up with a lot of growth on the chain and a tremendous amount of mud on the anchor itself. We were relieved.
Five boats left Pago Pago for Apia the day we left. One boat left in the morning a few hours ahead of us. We left in the company of Tackless II (Gwen and Don) and C'est la Vie (Dale and Heather). Another boat left a few hours after us.
Tackless II got their anchor up without problems and led our small fleet of three out the harbor. C'est la Vie had been on a mooring, so she simply slipped a line and followed shortly behind Tackless II. We lagged a bit behind as we slowly raised our anchor, but we were within 20-30 minutes of the others.
We needed to make water and charge our batteries, so we motorsailed out with a single-reefed main and small piece of jib. We had easterly winds, and we were headed west along the southern coast of the island. We gibed to head north between American Samoa and Western Samoa, and that put the wind on our starboard beam. Passage loves to sail on a beam reach, and she took off. We quickly passed C'est la Vie, and we passed Tackless II a short time later. We led the fleet the rest of the way.
We did have a few squalls blow over us, but we were able to handle them by furling in some of the jib. We had a single-reef in our mainsail throughout, and we never had to reduce it any further.
Fish slayer thought it would be nice to have some fresh fish, so he tossed in a lure while about an hour out of Apia. Something hit the lure within ten minutes, but it was not hooked. However, within another ten minutes, he had a small tuna on board, and we were scrambling to get the deck cleaned up and fishing gear put away before entering the harbor.
We arrived Apia mid-morning, and we were directed to side-tie to a tug to check in. Our approach was somewhat less than graceful, and I think we provided some amusement to the tug crew. But we got tied up, and we gave the tug crew our tuna as thanks for helping us through our awkward moments.
As we were checking in, we heard some radio discussion about a boat dragging anchor the night before and the damage it caused to another boat. We could see this was another muddy bottom, and we could only hope that it was not as fouled as that in American Samoa. After completing the check in process, we dropped our hook in 35' of water, and a squall blew over us almost immediately. Winds jumped to 30 knots, and we did not budge, so we are hoping that we have a pretty good hook to ride on for a few days.
It would be nice if all passages were this quick and smooth.
Read about our stay in Western Samoa.