National Park in American SamoaAmerican Samoa National Park
NPSamerican Samoa (
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American Samoa National Park
This was ( (hopefully not) one of those unique trips to a far away national park, and I lay on my back lying there. But that wasn't all too hard in Virgin Islands National Park on the Carribean Isle of St. John, where you can sunbathe on the sugar-sand shores between snorkelling adventure under the February snorkelling ray.
In the midwinter, who doesn't want to find themselves on a lonely isle? That is Ofu Iceland, part of the National Park of American Samoa, on the other side of the globe.
American Samoa National Park
The past year of travel has been more instructive than any other year of my adulthood, even those I have ever had at university and graduate schol. I have learnt many things about the American Samoa. Samoa consists of five small isles in the middle of the South Pacific; besides and in cultural connection with Western Samoa, Samoa is not an autonomous country like its brothers, but an area of the United States.
One of the best preserved ports in the word, it is a strategical harbour for the US, but it is also an area of enormous unspoilt nature. There is a dramatically scenic island landscape: pure volcano tops, shrouded in a maze of green and orchard vegetation, with jagged coasts, smooth sand, amazing fauna and one of the most healthy hard corals in the whole underworld.
It is also home to one of America's most isolated national reserves. Thought we were tending to like American Samoa, especially since it took so much trouble to get there. After spending the last two Westsamoa we had a tour of the island. Here we were able to experience the friendliness and friendliness of the Samoan tribe, as well as the tradition of food and dance and a religious belief that makes Sunday a nationwide holiday of peace.
In Samoa, everything is about the Samoa hosts, families, and families build next to each other and come together in large shared cabins to dine, chat and soak. It is a communitarian association that emphasises interdependency, fellowship and affiliation; when Samoans who have migrated back to their homeland, they expect to receive home security and a piece of countryside.
Nobody's shelterless in Samoa. Since foreign nationals cannot buy property there, the National Park's reserves are rented by the owner family. This park is run in collaboration with the surrounding communities, so our stay there was a unique nationalpark.
One of the highlights of each of our trips is always the crowd we encounter, and Samoa has proven this principle many a time. It was well deserved to listen to the tales of the local population. Samoa is one of the best places in the South Pacific for walking, as the NPS runs all paths in the fast-growing area.
Our first days were dedicated to walks through the Vatia community; the jungles were full of orchards and blooming vegetation, full of moths, fowls and crayfish. Walking to the cliffy sand where we could see the arcs of ocean along the coast hewn into the rocks and could see the knocking and setting down of paving stones on the bank as each wavemeter.
These is a public tale all about American Samoa: with few jobs available on the isles, children in Hawaii or the US Continent move to high schools and often join the army along the way. At Aunu' u, a small islet off the coastline of Tutuila, America's capital Tutuila, we walked around the isle, led by a neighbourhood hound who, as the locals said, loved palagis (white people) and we were glad to have this little puppy, Smoky, who seemed to know the most beautiful places on the isle.
It took us to a pebble sand bay with a bay bow and stepped tidal basins, then to a swamp of quicksands (about which we had previously been reading, so fortunately we knew that we should not go in), to a surfing bay and a swamp full of camo. While we were waiting for the brief trip back to Tutuila, we quickly befriended a WorldTeach instructor from Waco, Texas, of all places, and Graham and Margie made good with the children of the area.
Most of our years in American Samoa were on Ofu which I can only describe as the most wonderful place in the world. We pedalled for the next five nights, wandered and floated around the archipelago until we were completely in love and willing to remain in this place forever.
There' are some very pretty things when you go to a park with so few other people. Someone is that the Park rangers are really happy to see you and can invest a lot of money giving you thorough tips on what to see and do there. The Ofu Island is regarded by some tourist journals as the most wonderful place in the whole wide open, and although I have not yet seen all the places in the whole wide open, I will accept that.
It is a powdered piece of sand in front of hot, transparent waters and is supported by crooked palm groves and the spectacular summits of Ofu. Cuddling up to the coast, the coastline makes some of the best snorkelling on the globe easy by stepping into the sea and gluing your face under it. Ofu corals are the most healthy in the whole wide open sea; mysterious resistance to the sea temperature that has whitened the corals almost everywhere, researchers come here to investigate what makes these corals so robust.
Wherever I have snorkelled or dipped, I have seen corals that are at least partly whitened and fractured; here the corals are solid and alive, only whitened at their tops, where they stand above the ebbwood. There are plenty of pelagic, the waters are clear and the whole place has made us unbelievably lucky and full of hope.
It is also home to other wild animals, such as the banana and breadfruits that live on the banana and breadfruits on the beacheside tree life, or the huge shrimp that live in the waters and then hike into the jungles, where they are powerful enough to crawl on coco palms, squeeze the fruits and crawl through the shells to have them.
Hiking to the top of Ofu on Tumu Mountain was one of the best hikes we have ever done, with a win beyond in the shape of a wide view over the isle. You can see the huge coral that surrounds the crystal clear sea and the sickle of bright sands.
The best times we had in American Samoa were the calm ones, lying on the shore, wobbling in the sea, cycling through the jungles and observing how we were being attacked by a buffalo and lying under the star. Before we took our barge to Ta'u in the mornings, I went one last trip to Ofu Bay to observe the sunrise.
It was so hot and fast and bubbling that I giggled and then immediately cried - I was willing to go home and never wanted to go home again, full of happiness, sorrow and yearning and above all thankfulness.