Posted by: monsonmadness | January 27, 2012

First time again

Yesterday it was our turn for a date. There are still a few places on the island that we haven’t been to. Most are ones that are inaccessible to kids, so we have to wait for a date and some good weather. Between dropping off the kids and waiting for Michael to come home from work, it started to POUR down. I thought we’d have to abandon our chance for another adventure and try again in another 3 weeks, but we decided to head out in the rain, hoping that it would clear up and stop.

We drove about 30 minutes west to the village of Amanave. This is the most westerly village in American Samoa, and we were going to attempt hiking out to Cape Taputapu National Natural Landmark. Just as I wrote here, we went to the most western point in the world last month when we were in Western Samoa, but since that visit, the international date line was moved, and now that point lies here in American Samoa. We decided it would be pretty cool to attempt the feat again, and so, for the first time to this place, we got to go the most westerly point in the world again!

One of the reasons that it’s taken us so long to get to this hike is that you have to walk about a mile along the shoreline, but you can only do it at low tide. The timing has to be perfect, otherwise it’s too dangerous. As is always the case in American Samoa, nothing is easy, no signs, no markings, no idea really of where to go other than heading west, so off we went. We did a lot of rock scrambling, a lot of wading in deep water, and a lot of avoiding huge scary crabs and small leech-type creatures that were jumping out of the water onto the rocks!

At one point we walked past a local fisherman who had set up his nets and was relaxing waiting for his catch. He must have watched us venture out into the ocean trying to get past a bluff, because just as Michael and I decided that it was too dangerous and we would have to turn back, he came after us shaking his head that it wasn’t safe. We thought we were defeated, but instead, he signaled for us to follow him, and let us up an invisible path up the cliffs to a trail that was about 12 inches across and dropped straight onto the rocks and ocean below. SCARY! We followed him up and over the bluff to where we could see where we had to go, and then he pointed the way and headed back. How nice of him…our adventure wasn’t over yet!

The hike was beautiful. It was completely isolated and there were even sandy beaches! Lots of lush green trees and plants on the shore, and no rain in sight. One of the funny parts of the hike was how slow Michael was! When we were following the fisherman, I followed behind him, and we kept having to turn and wait for Michael. After a few times of this, I asked Michael if he was ok, and he replied, “Yes, I just didn’t know that I was married to a billy goat”. I guess I was pretty nimble on the rocks!

This is the formal description of the landmark from wikipedia: “Cape Taputapu is a natural exhibit of shoreline and offshore volcanic rocks and blowholes sculptured by heavy sea wave action. Among the offshore islets at Taputapu is one identified as a volcanic vent through which lava outpourings occurred during the episode of major volcanism forming Tutuila Island. The Cape is a dramatic vantage point for observing the titanic struggle in constant progress between the sea and the land.”

So there you have it. Another thing to check off the list. Here are some photos below, and since I have discovered that I have quite a few people from American Samoa reading my blog now, I thought I’d add two pictures, just so you knew it was realistic. I try to paint a picture with rosy colored glasses for my international friends, but those of us who live here know better! Wouldn’t be a true hike in American Samoa if you didn’t see at least one rusty dishwasher at the bottom of the waterfall, and at least one old seat from a car and a broken freezer lying on the beach!



  1. BEAUTIFUL! UNREAL! You should enter some of your photos into photo contests (kodak has one every month).

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