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American Samoa by Marcus Coltro

José and I always wanted to go to one of those paradisiacal islands in Pacific to do some shelling. Our first thought was Tonga so we booked our trip to Hawaii and from there to Tonga. Two friends joined us, Eliana Koprick and Eduardo Schirrmeister both shell collectors.

When we arrived in Hawaii we went to a travel agency to book our trip - but the flight schedule to Tonga was not good for our timing so we asked our local friends Bunnie and George Cook which place would be good for shells. Their suggestion was Samoa and after checking some pamphlets we booked our trip to American Samoa for the next day.

We got in Pago-Pago (pronounced 'Pango-Pango') and went to our Hotel The Rain Maker, a very suggestive name which was given after the main mountain in the island. Indeed, we got a lot of rain there but it did not stop us to enjoy our shelling.
The island is very nice and there was still many places untouched by man. It is true it was quite smelly near the fish factory however due to our snorkeling practice we could hold our breath for a long period until we passed it...
Before we started any shell collecting we followed a rule: always ask for permission to the local 'chief' in each village to dive on their beaches. One of the best collecting places was in front of the hotel - we did some night snorkeling there which produced some nice shells. We also found out that the island was a great SPA for tourists: there are NO decent restaurants and we had to eat cup-of-noodles in several occasions! We tried the local pizza - I always thought it is impossible to make a real bad pizza: I was wrong! After diving for 10 days (and loosing a few pounds) we booked our flight to Western Samoa. The traffic on the island is very calm so we were in no rush to get to the airport. However, they were painting signs along the road and simply closed it for a few hours so we lost our plane... We had to come back to the hotel and take another flight in the next day.
Next week: Western Samoa

- These photos were digitalized from originals (slides or paper) so the quality is not as high as the photos you are used to see in our website.


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