Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Flag Day - Going to the Caves

Today was Flag Day for the Territory. Flag Day is the biggest holiday for AS, and is akin to US Independence Day. Except Flag Day doesn't celebrate independence per se. On April 17th, American Samoans celebrate April 17, 1900, the day that Tutuila was taken by the United States Navy and made a US territory. They celebrate old-fashioned colonialism.

We decided to avoid the festivities and went instead to some caves on the oceanside in Leone.

The caves were pretty fun. Over thousands of years, water has pushed through the lava rock making caverns that eventually turned into blowholes. These caverns and blowholes are so big now that you can pretty safely swim through them. You swim into the caves through an opening from the ocean. Here, Mark and Jaydn are sitting right at the mouth of the caves (I shouldn't have used my flash!).

We all went in, but Jessi later took some pictures of us through the blowholes. Here you can see me and Jaydn, and Mark and Liz, our friends.

Here I got a picture of Jessi in the caves as well.

Some time afterward, the tide started to come in and the water level was rising in the caves. While the higher water level made it so we could safely jump into the caves through the blowholes (Jaydn didn't, of course), the water would push you up toward the ceiling of the cave so getting out was kind of a trick. Usually it required swimming under the water until you got to the opening where you could climb out. It was really fun.

We also got some snorkeling in, and Jaydn saw several sea horses (which we hadn't seen in the ocean before). Afterward, we found some pretty cool puddles created in the lava rock.

After our trip to the caves, Jaydn and I took in some absolutely-free-Pizza Hut-Flag Day Celebration-blow-up toy fun. Heck, it was Flag Day, so I let Jaydn jump off the blow-up slide. I was the only one supervising, anyway!