First week in Samoa

It’s been a week now that we arrived in Samoa. We were quickly sucked in to civilization and enjoying the island and its offers so that I did not even write about our arrival.
The trip to Samoa has been faster than thought. It took us only 3 days for the 480nm from Suwarrow to here. So we arrived exactly 1 week ago in the morning. We’re now ahead of all of you in terms of time since we passed the timeline. We’re at GMT + 12 hrs right now, e.g. 11 hrs ahead of Germany and 2o hrs ahead of LA.
Samoa is a wonderful surprise for me. If you liked Tahiti, you’ll love Samoa. They are both green islands with mountains and fresh water springs, surrounded by a reef and you can find black and white sand beaches. The only difference is, that the mountains here are lower (the highest one around 1100m = 3400ft) and the beaches are more beautiful. Ok, and Apia is way smaller than Papeete, has a lot more charm and you can get everything you need (if it’s not bating needs). Food is limited and often expensive, but we’re at least able to buy some fresh fruits and vegetables, most homegrown. Nice and good restaurants can be found as well as shops and Internet. Clothes are comparably cheap here. There is a store where you can buy shirts with Tatoo-design, very beautiful stuff, at very good prices. We just got Marcus some nice things (www.tanoa-samoa.com).
On the day we arrived we were not allowed to do anything as we had to wait for the officers from Health, Immigration, Quarataine and Customs to show up and give us clearance. We broke all records. Usually it “just” takes the arrival day, but we were lucky: customs did not come until 2:30 the NEXT day! And then Marcus was reminded that he acts against the law because he let the crew off board and was the only one there! Anything like this has never happened. To us before. Well, there is always a first time. We were sitting on board, tired from the drip, sweating laike crazy, dirty and could not even go to take a shower that first day. In the evening we went for dinner anyways. The second day was for orientation in town and around here, getting some gorceries and something cold to drink. Then on Saturday we had a driver drive us to waterfalls where we could slide down rocks and jump down into the pools that was a lot of fun and so very refreshing.  On Sunday, tha day when you have to be quiet, no noise allowed, you’re not allowed to move/walk too fast… Sven and Christine went to a beach with the driver while Marcus and I took the Genua down. I had to go up the mast 3 times. Screws of the Aluminium profile, which sits over the forestay and holds the Genua, had loosened to that parts of the profile twisted and cut into the Genua. Checking the whole forestay I found some more loose screws, so I tightened them all. Being alerted we also opened up the small headsail and also there I had to tighten some screws. So Cruisers, make sure you check those screws once a year!
Sven and Christine left Monday night to go home to Germany. Marcus has been sick meanwhile, just getting back on his feet so that tomorrow we can take a rental car for a couple of days to discover the beautiful island a little bit more. Tonight we’re going out with our NZ friend boat “Tuatara” to a dinner island dance show.
 I will be back with a full report and nicer pictures.

Just so get a an idea, here are some pictures of Samoa. The quality is not very good, sorry, took it with the samll camera and no time to edit yet.
 Samoan busses. They play loud music like in a Disco onboard. Fun!
 There is always a place for luggage....
 Men wear skirts here....
 ..even the police
 Apia fruit market

 Sliding rocks

 A "fale", an open house, the traditional house of Samoans (all open)

 Typical houses.
 Togitogiga waterfalls

 See me junping at the top...

 ..and jumping from the lower rock
 An anchor in a church window

 Kids going to church
 a girl already running off to church with mummies hat

 Marcus, Christine and Sven at the Italian restaurant "Paddles", owned by Giovanni (half Italian, half Samoan)

I finally uploaded the pictures from Aituatki to the photogallery. Check them out: http://sailing.smichah.de/#!album-71

Suwarrow follows in the next couple of days.