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Flag Day, America Samoa

April 16, 1990

Samoa is one humid place! We thought it was humid in Panama. This place has it beat by a mile. Mold grows everywhere on the boat, in every crack and crevice, even the bed pillows had to be replaced. It rains almost every day and things .just don’t have a chance to dry out. Just when we think the rain has stopped and we open the ports and hatches to air out the place, we are running to close them when the next shower comes. I keep waiting for the "dry season" but even the locals don’t know for sure when it begins.

Fautasi race using boats 90-100 feel long. Flag Day is a big celebration here. It takes place on April 17, with bands, parades and outrigger races, like the ones in Panama and Tahiti but on a grander scale. The culmination is the Fautasi race. These canoes are 80-90 feet long and require 45 rowers for propulsion. Because they need more room than other boats, all the yachts on our side of the harbor had to move. We were moored right on the finish line, so we let out on the mooring line and put out a stern anchor a hundred feet behind us. Bob will have a front row seat for the races. I’ll be working—one of our "make-up days" because of the hurricane.

Helm of Fautasi race boat. Here on the Hunky-Dory, life is routine. Now that I have canning jars and lids, I’ve been practicing food preservation. Last month I canned chicken, and it turned out pretty well. We’re still eating it with no ill effects. Saturday I tried canning hot dogs. Not as good. We’ll see.

At school, I have just finished a short story project in all three grades (6th through 8th) with very good results. The computer teacher was all set for a word processing unit so we joined forces, and the kids worked on their stories during their one hour a week computer time. Aside from two kids who got way too much help (from a mother in one case and an older sister in the other0, all the work was done by the kids with feedback from me and corrections helped along through small editing groups. One or two, with some polishing, could be sent to children's magazines for publishing. We’ll see what we can do.

I just finished writing a rough draft of a melodrama that my class will perform next month. The class devised most of the plot and I just set in the dialogue. This week we’ll finalize everything and then start auditions. The kids are excited about the project, even thought they knew nothing about melodramas when we started. We’ll present it to the younger kids (preschool through 3rd grade in the morning and the older ones (grade 4-8) the same afternoon, running a different cast for each performance so that more kids get a chance to be on stage. (There are only 7 characters). There’s really a method to my madness: chickenpox has been going around as well as the flu, so two casts will be my assurance that at least one student will be available for each part.

Bob devised a new rainwater collection system that is working very well, We hardly ever have to go to the dock for water now. He also decided to wait until we get to Fiji to make the new boom and rebuild the mizzen mast. Wood is supposed to be better, it is drier there and there are places to work on things.

One of the teachers at my school is Fijian. Arieta’s family owns a small island in the group that is uninhabited. She said her father will give us permission to anchor off the island and go ashore for picnics. etc. The water is crystal clear there and snorkeling is supposed to be wonderful.

Next month we begin provisioning for Tonga, Fiji, etc. We plan to buy food and supplies for a year, so it will take a lot of time and money to shop for our trip this time. School is out on June 8th and we can’t leave until we take care of Samoa income tax on my salary. We hope to be out of here before the 20th. Keep using the Pago Pago address until the end of May, then switch back to our Seattle forwarding address.

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