Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Which Boat?

For whatever reason, heaps of people in Apia and its surrounding areas have family in Savai’i. Or were born there or grew up there or still stay there on weekends. Thus Friday boats are more crowded than those during the week, and like most airports in The States around Thanksgiving, the boats get insanely crowded during the holidays in December and in the lead up to Aso Maliu, Good Friday. In fact, most schools in the country have Thursday off so students can get home.

I have decided to spend the weekend in Savai’i this year, and sometime late last week I started weighing my options to decide when to leave and which boat to take. Monday’s going to be hellish, there’s no way around that, but being smart about things should yield a comfortable trip going out, at least.

In the past there would have been two options: leaving Wednesday afternoon or leaving Thursday morning. But right now, there is a third option in the mix. The Samoa Port Authority recently received a third ferry from the Japanese. This ferry, in a stroke of genius, leaves from Apia Harbour, not from the wharf an hour’s drive outside of Apia.

Oh, and one more complication: Scout’s coming. I’m bringing the cat along with me, which means lugging around a bulky box and having other passengers stare at me.

Here is how things break out:

Wednesday Afternoon Boat
Pros: Time-wise, farthest away from Friday rush. Also allows for most time away from home.
Cons: The 4 o’clock boat is always a bit of a zoo. Also, since today is the last day of school for most students, they’re all out, and it’s conceivable many headed straight to the boat. Oh yeah, and I’d have to pay the $3.20 bus fare to get to the wharf.
Bottom line: Too much of a rush. Also, I’m writing this post on Wednesday afternoon. A little late.

Thursday Boat: Wharf
Pros: Likely to be least crowded option, particularly if I was to leave in the morning. Every boat tomorrow will still be pretty crowded though.
Cons: I’d have to leave at 6:00 a.m. to make the big boat at 8:00. Also, bus fare.
Bottom line: A good fallback.

Thursday Boat: Apia
Pros: No bus fare. I can walk to the dock from my house. Also, did I mention the new ferry has a much larger seating capacity than the other 2 ferries? Also, I haven’t taken this brand new ferry yet, and it sound pretty exciting.
Cons: This one also leaves at 8:00 a.m., which means I’ll have to get there pretty early. Since it’s the last boat from Apia before the weekend (Port Authority’s closed for Good Friday and Easter), it will also be crowded.
Bottom Line: It makes the most sense, so long as I can get a seat.

So it looks like I’m going from Apia tomorrow morning. The final complication: though students aren’t coming tomorrow, it’s considered a staff work day. My pule said it’s cool if I miss since I’m heading to Savai’i, but my staff has opted to meet up at the seawall at 6:00 a.m. to do a 2-mile walk. Anyone who doesn’t show up by 6 will have to buy lunch for everyone else on Tuesday. Since it’s early enough that I can make it, I think I’m obligated to show up.

So here’s the plan. They’re meeting up at Seafood Gourmet, which is pretty close to the dock. I’ll show up, show my face, and they’ll take off one way, and I’ll go the other way.

Also, I’ll be carrying my cat. In a box.

Wish you were here! Pictures will be uploaded later.

The parade for the Manu Samoa, fresh off their victory at the Hong Kong 7s Tournament, was this afternoon.


More parade.

Kids from the junior league.

They never shut down the other side of the street. We had oncoming traffic the whole time.


Anonymous said...

Your best bet is to take the boat from Matautu Wharf because Samoans don't like long boat rides. They would prefer to pay the bus fare to Mulifanua Wharf because the ride from there to Savaii is shorter. Boat rides nowadays is more gentle than in the 60's and 70's, which we took banana boats that our feet literally touch the ocean, people getting sea-sick, vomiting, crying babies. We travel with squeeling pigs, chickens(yes your favourite roosters), taros, bananas, you name it. Yes, Samoa has come a long way. Just like when the first pilgrims came to America. We are all so fortunate now.

Ulu Pateta said...

wow take lots of pics of the new boat and great pictures of Samoa Sevens parade. (That may be you and your 6th grade rugby team by the end of season at school, the way they playing.

Kapeteni Tenile said...

awesome blog Matt.
have fun in Savaii.