Preview: Tom Robinson’s Solo Row Across the Pacific – Update #21: Notes From Pago Pago – American Samoa

June 23, 2023

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Greetings from a lush, beautiful and, above all, hospitable South Seas Island.

First of all, I must dispel any preconceived notions the reader may harbour regarding the American presence in American Samoa. It was a shock to me, as it may be to you, just how un-American the place feels. As those who have read my previous update will know, my arrival to Samoa was somewhat unconventionl. I rowed ashore onto a beach in the little village of Alofau. As I entered the bay, I saw a big church (one of at least three in the village), I saw a man standing under a large fig tree casting a net, and I saw an old fibreglass outrigger fishing canoe tied to a coconut palm; all bathed in the warm afternoon sun and contrasting with the towering green mountain above. I stepped ashore, staggered down the road and took it all in: lush vegetation, tidy and neat block homes, men walking in their lavalavas, a small store, kids swimming, and dogs wandering about. It was all very quaint; it was all very Polynesian.

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