Thursday, October 2, 2014


 Well, it seems as though Wendy and I are somewhere exciting on my birthday.  In 2010 we had just arrived in Robin Hood Bay, North England having just completed a 13 day hike from Coast to Coast.  In 2012 we found ourselves in Leon Spain, on our 35 day pilgrimage trek across Spain. And here we are in 2014, American Samoa, sitting on a beautiful beach we hiked to with the Bay and beach all to ourselves.

 In 2009 a tsunaumi hit the Island of Samoa and one of our Churches was badly damaged.  When we got here in June it was all boarded up but in September they started to rebuild the Chapel.  We hope to see it's completion and dedication while we are here.

 We had a great experience in early September with Elder Haleck, the Stake Presidents and the Mission President & Sister Tolman over on the Island of Aunu'u.  This is the landing area of the first missionaries to Samoa.  This is where Wendy's great Uncle EJ Wood landed and started his missionary service in 1888.  There was a special celebration with Elder Haleck, Stake Presidents and Mission President & Wife, Wendy and I and and Elder Anderson who just arrived to serve here.  Elder Anderson is a great, great grandson of Elder Dean who also was one of the early missionaries here.  They made a fuss over Elder Anderson and Wendy because of the great blessing their ancestors were to Samoa.

 This float gives rival to the Rose Parade I'm sure.  We witnessed the Miss Universe, American Samoa beauty pageant, with 5 contestants driving these great floats from one end of the Island to the other.  It really slowed traffic down from 25mph to about 10 mph.

Here on the Island there is a special heart attack burger called the "Marvin Burger".  It is a special event for the missionaries and has been a main burger dive for post district meetings.  This place should be on "Diners and Dives".  Here is the what they put on it.  3 patties of meat, 3 patties of cheese, 3 fried eggs, 3 slabs of bacon (barely cooked), lots of mayo - $5.35 and it's all yours.  It comes with fries, lots more mayo dipping sauce and all the lemon-aide you can drink.  In case any of you are wondering - NO I have not had one and don't intend on having one.

Wendy and I got to tour the Hokule'a. This is the replica of the kind of canoe's the ancient polynesians used to sail the ocean.  It is completely built without bolts, screws, nails.  There is over 6.5 miles of rope and lashing holding it together.  It has a companion canoe that is larger and fully equipped with technology to film, track, and do research as it follows the Hokule'a around the world.  The Hokule'a has a mission to educate people
regarding celestial navigation, do research on the oceans and the Islands where they stop and visit and try and maintain the great heritage of the early polynesian people and their way of navigating the great oceans of the world.  We were fortunate that they stopped here for a few weeks in September giving us the chance to go on board and visit with the crew.

Well, hiking seems to be the trend for the Septembers of my life so of course it would make sense for Wendy and I to go for a hike and explore the Island.  We hiked the Mount Alava National Park hike.  It is a 4 hour hike along the ridge overlooking Pago Pago bay.  It starts at a pass called Fagasa Pass and goes it seems like forever.  The peak is approx. 1610 feet above sea level and there are many, many ups and downs as you hike the trail.  We had a great time - Wendy was so tired and hot that she took off her shoes and put on some flip flops to ride in the van.  Unfortunately she left her running shoes sitting on the road beside the Van.  We only realised this about 2 weeks later when she couldn't find her shoes.

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