American Samoa in pictures

American Samoa, a group of US-administered islands in the South Pacific about 120km east of independent Samoa, is so far under the radar even well-travelled friends looked at me blankly when I told them where I was going. The few who had been there, as sailors in the bad old days of the 1970s and 80s, asked me why I wanted to go to “that dump”. The good news is that since then the tuna cannery — American Samoa’s only big employer apart from the US government — has cleaned up its act, marine life has returned to mountain-ringed Pago Pago Harbour, and the territory is starting to embrace eco-tourism.

The islands’ biggest drawcards are the National Park of American Samoa, the only US national park in the Southern Hemisphere, and virtually untapped snorkelling and diving, especially in the remote Manu’a Islands. Another attraction, for me anyway, is the strange juxtaposition of a deeply traditional Polynesian society with the modern American way of life. The result is a God-fearing people who value ‘aiga (extended family) above all else but drive around their tiny islands in giant pick-up trucks and love McDonalds as much as an umu (traditional meal cooked with hot rocks). Hopefully these photos will give you some idea of what American Samoa looks like today.

 

8 thoughts on “American Samoa in pictures

  • September 25, 2018 at 2:59 am
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    I lived there in for a year in 70-71. I didn’t find it a dump , nor was it bad in any way. The people were super friendly and generous , pace of living was slow and it was as clean as any area in Hawaii or California. It may not have had all the mod cons the Del Mar or Waikiki marina had. But for goodness sake it was a South Pacific island not suburbia. It was one of the most peaceful years of my life.

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    • pdg
      October 2, 2018 at 9:10 am
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      Thanks Terry. It certainly wasn’t a dump when I visited. Locals told me the EPA cracked down on pollution from the cannery – which is what my struck my sailing friends back in the day – around 1992. Since then the harbour has been cleaned up dramatically and marine life has returned, they said. Glad you enjoyed your year there.

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    • pdg
      October 2, 2018 at 8:58 am
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      Thanks Steve, I’m glad my photos bring back good memories.

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  • September 26, 2018 at 2:27 am
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    Living in American Samoa for most of my life, I can say you have captured a lot of the Samoa I love! Thank you for sharing these photos with the world.

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    • pdg
      October 2, 2018 at 9:01 am
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      Thanks Donna, I’m pleased I was able to capture some of the Samoa you love, though I was on Tutuila less than a week. Next time the Manu’a islands…

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  • October 1, 2018 at 3:24 pm
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    Beautiful shots of a place that figures pretty prominently in my life. Both of my parents, born and raised there, are buried in the old Navy cemetery at Satala (adjacent to the power plant and just a stone’s throw from the cannery). Mom and Daddy left to make their way in Hawai’i and the mainland, returning when Daddy retired from the military. I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the island and the people as much as I should have; I introduced my wife, finally, to the beauty of Hawai’i just a week ago, and I am already thinking about showing her Samoa next year or soon afterwards. Thanks Peter for these beautiful island scenes! Manuia!

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    • pdg
      October 2, 2018 at 9:03 am
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      I’m pleased to bring back good memories Bill. I hope you get back to Samoa with your wife soon!

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