Monday, July 30, 2007

More Jaydn Soccer Pics

Say hello to Jaydn and the Tafuna Jets soccer team.

Jaydn just had his last soccer game of the (short) season. What a hard worker on the field. He loves winning, and HATES losing. A few days ago he was on the sidelines waiting to go in when he saw a teammate score a goal. He told Jessi, "mom, I was so happy I just felt like I was going to cry."

Then on Thursday I went to one of his games that his team lost. Coming off the field after giving every ounce of effort he had, he couldn't help but be disappointed. I, on the other hand, could not have been more proud of him.

Some action shots:Here's Jaydn with some of his best friends on the team. From left: Micah, Oliver, Alec, Toa, and Jaydn.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jessi's Birthday--is on Monday

Just in case you didn't know. But we did a little celebrating on Saturday. I had this July 28th surprise party planned for, like, three weeks or so, but Jessi kept setting get-togethers and parties all around the 28th with her friends (all of whom would later come to my surprise party). Like she says, I guess it's not a birth"day", it's her birth"month". And who deserves a month-long birthday celebration more than my wife? (Absolutely no sarcasm in that statement, by the way.)

We started out Saturday by walking out to the Blue Hole. We took the "walk-o'-trash," and it actually looked like someone had come and cleaned it up . . . sort of.

We stopped at the corner of the airport runway for a while to look for shells.

Some Samoan fishermen were catching octopus.

The Blue Hole (which is right around the corner from the shell-collecting death-trap beach) was magnificent on Saturday. Low tide don't mean nuttin' when you come out here! It was beautiful.

This is one of my favorite snorkeling spots on the island. There's just so much to see here. I swam out quite a distance into a sandy spot. I noticed a big fish swim past, and then realized I probably better swim back. As I turned around, I noticed two rays (manta, sting, whatever) sitting motionless on the sea bed. They were laying under the sand, so a thin layer of sand was covering them. I could see their teeny eyes looking around, the unmistakeable shape of their bodies, and their unavoidably long tails that just stuck out like sticks. It was like we were playing "hide-and-seek," I was finding, and they were just really bad hiders because of their tails (darn tails!!). The other thing I couldn't help but noticing was that they were MUCH bigger than the one I saw in Blue Hole 2 several months ago. They had to have been about three feet wide, and their tails were closer to 4 feet long. To me, they were huge (and I'm sure I'm just exaggerating about their size).

I swam back quickly to get Jaydn, because these things were not budging (or so I thought). Coming back, I got totally lost. There are no street signs under water. You can't say, "it's the third road on your left." I guess you could say, "go to the sandy area that's just over the third coral hill..." OK, nevermind. I just got lost, and I was frustrated because I swam all the way back out to show Jaydn and now I couldn't find those stupid rays!

I explained my frustration to Jaydn and then tucked my head down under the water to see one of the rays darting off in front of me. I had no time to get Jaydn to look before the ray was out of sight.

Oh well. I started to have flashbacks of my attempt to catch a dolphin in the frigid waters of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. There's no way I was ever going to catch up to that ray. We saw some slow sea turtles anyway, so Jaydn was content.

Later that day I took Jaydn to a friends' house so Jessi and I could get ready for our "date." A little later Jessi and I left, Jessi still not knowing where we were "going to dinner." Once we left, Agents Castro (our neighbors) called Agent Weaver (my co-clerk) who was strategically stationed at KFC with the party-attendees and reported that the "Colettis have left the building." It was time for the party goers to crash the Coletti whatever-the-heck-you-call-the-box-we-live-in.

About half-way to our so-called "destination" I exclaimed, "aahh, I forgot my wallet!!" and we turned around to come back. Everything was working so smoothly, I couldn't believe it. Jessi was buying it!! Jessi told me, "aw, it's fine. We'll make it on time, right?" Sure.

As we pulled up into our driveway, our friends were supposed to be hiding in the bushes. But I guess we didn't give them enough time, and everyone was inside while a few were standing outside. All Jessi could see was a few guys standing outside our open door, so she thought we were being robbed. She jumped out of the car quickly, and then noticed that we had about 40 people in our house! Since no one was expecting us quite yet, the few that saw us pull up gave a somewhat belated, "surprise?"

Anyway, Jessi loved it. There were so many people there! And there was a lot of good food.

Afterward we played games. My apologies to those who got in a picture but not on the blog.

We're really gonna miss this place.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Top 8 American Samoa News Stories of the Past Month

1. Governor announces the American Samoa Government won't fund its own sports teams at the South Pacific Games, basically because they "stink."

2. American Samoa Government proposes bill to criminalize underage drinking (what a concept?!).

3. AS Social service agencies condemn the underage drinking bill, basically because they believe it won't help to stop underage drinking.

4. AS businessman Galea'i found dead in Suva, Fiji, with multiple stab wounds to his chest and stomach. Military dictatorship Fijian government rules out foul play, suggesting that death was self-inflicted(?!).

5. In 2007, FAA FINALLY considering building air traffic control tower for Pago Pago International Airport.

6. AS high schools and middle schools compete (not during classtime) to see which school has the fastest text-messaging students (competition is good, I guess).

7. Confused Pago Pago residents speculate as to why highly contaminated Pago Harbor waters have turned "red" (is it a volcano?!)?

8. First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono cuts the ceremonial ribbon on McDonald's' new "top notch" Playland, exclaiming, "I'm loving it!" Tulafono praises McDonalds for providing a place which "promotes health" for AS children. Rev. Pale T. Schmidt offers the blessing prayer.

Never a dull moment...

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Saturday night was Fiafia Night at Sadie's By the Sea. We stayed at Sadie's when we first arrived in American Samoa.

It was a beautiful night by the pool. The owners of this place have really done a lot to draw tourists. Am I still in AmSam?

A few highlights of the night:

Vatia (again)

I think I'm starting to feel a little de-ja-vu. I get to a beach and the first thing I think of is "what should I take pictures of?" Then I think, "oh, I've already taken pictures of everything."

That's when you realize that you live on a very small island.

Anyway, I guess it IS different when you share the same experiences with different people. Neither Angela, Whitney or John had been to Vatia before, so it was worth it just to show them.

I think that's the airport runway that I'm seeing from the top of the mountain.

See? DE-JA-VU.

We even walked back out to the cockscomb again.

After swimming out past the drop-off, we spent our time making sand castles.
BIG ones.

Angela drank from a coconut.
I think the sun's making us all a little goofy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back in Sailele (this time, with Angela)

Yesterday we made a return trip to Sailele.

On our last trip here, we gave some of our left-over food to the local kids that had gathered around our car. This time, two of the same boys were there. I don't know Samoan very well, but I could tell that one of them started talking about "palagi . . . food . . . good . . ." His mind was on the cookie that I gave him last time.

So it was no surprise when we came back to our stuff after snorkeling and noticed that OUR SANDWICHES HAD BEEN STOLEN! And I knew JUST WHO THE CULPRITS WERE!

Oh, well. It's funny when you have all this stuff laying out and only your sandwiches are stolen. They must have been pretty hungry.

Jaydn collected more shells at Sailele than on our previous three beach visits combined. I mean, we could probably fill a large suitcase with all of the shells he has ever collected (including those we secretly got rid of).

Jessi, Angela, Caroline and Pyper went out to the drop off to try out the waves. With how rough the water was, their trip didn't really last that long.

Snorkeling at Sailele is rediculous. It's so shallow and the water tries to suck you out to the 'ava. It's only worth trying if you are able to see a sea turtle. Which I did, luckily.

Snorkeling in the deep gorge in the waters of Aoa is much better. (Aoa - whoever said that words had to have a consonant didn't know what they were talking about). I took Angela and Jaydn over to Aoa from Sailele for a while.

There is nothing like seeing your 6-year old son swimming and diving down in 30+ feet deep water with no effort at all. Large fish, turtles, etc. swam by us on the ocean floor and it made no difference - Jaydn has no fear of the ocean. Angela kept asking Jaydn if he was "OK" or "needed to stop." I knew better.

Upon returning back to Sailele, Jessi told me she had been attacked by some dogs. Out of nowhere, a pack of dogs ran up to her barking and acting like they were going to hurt her. One of them jumped up on her and scratched up her leg. Fortunately, she was able to get her foot up so she could give one dog a big kick. Then, one of the locals came out with a shovel to shoo the dogs away. Aside from the scratch, Jessi was fine.

Apparently these dogs forgot they lived in one of the nicest villages in AS!? I mean, every time we come here, locals wave to us, smile, offer us coconuts, want to know where we're from, etc. If I were going to live in AS, I might seriously consider Sailele because of the warmth I feel whenever I visit.

Dumb dogs.

At this point it was getting late, so we made our return trip over the mountain. About half-way up the mountain you drive on a pass overlooking the village of Masausi, which is a very quaint, colorful little place.

Only three weeks left of beachin' it. Gotta' make the most of it while we can!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


So Wednesday was a 2-fer - we took Angela to Faga'alu and IBM Beach on the same day.

At Faga'alu, Jaydn was swimming around in the shallow water with his goggles on (he likes his goggles more than his snorkel and mask). Someone asked, "Jaydn, are you snorkeling?"

"No, I'm goggling."

Does that mean what I'm doing as I make this post on the blog is "googling?"

We did see a crown of thorns starfish off the dropoff at IBM. Not a very endearing water creature if you ask me, but pretty cool looking.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Manu'a Flag Day

Today was a holiday--Manu'a Flag Day. What, you didn't get the day off from work?

Manu'a Flag Day celebrates the day that the Manu'a Islands were ceded to the United States 103 years ago.

"Ceded," you say, "by whom?" By Manu'a, of course.

Manu'a consists of the islands of Ofu, Olosega, and Tau. Ever heard of them? (We visited Ofu and Olosega last September). Although separated from the main island of Tutuila, the Manu'a Islands are part of American Samoa. Combined population of Ofu, Olosega and Tau = probably 500 people, and shrinking.

And for some reason, workers in American Samoa get the day off from work. No real celebration, just another sweet day off.

I love this place.

Our country should seriously consider taking over more beautiful islands.

So we visited Airport Beach today to celebrate Manu'a's surrender to the U.S. No fireworks for Manu'a Flag Day, but at least the blowholes were shooting off something. I'd never seen them so spunky. Unfortunately, I didn't capture the biggest bursts.

On the walk past the blowholes, there's a few places where the ocean has literally ripped through the lava rock to create some very unstable natural arches. I always figured the Samoan fishermen had to be insane to cross the arch and drop their line.

So on our walk, out goes John on the arch. Then Caroline goes, and then Angela tries on a different arch.

What this picture doesn't show is that the very next wave splashed right over Angela. It was pretty funny. A lot of us got drenched today by huge blowhole bursts.

It took us a long time to get out to the beach. Jaydn, Trey and John were busy looking for shells. I was hopelessly trying my new camera out on the blowholes. I mean, can't the blowholes shoot off on a set schedule, like Old Faithful? Is that too much to ask?

Once on the beach, I went with Angela and a few others out around the weather tower (where I saw the sting ray). Melanie aptly noted that the area felt like a cross between Ofu and Faga'alu, two really great snorkeling spots. Melanie actually saw another Barracuda. Man, I've had that Heart song in my head ever since Friday!
Jaydn found one of his best shell finds ever, which sent John, Caroline and Pyper out on a shell hunt.
Another beautiful beach day.