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the Degree Confluence Project
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American Samoa

47.0 km (29.2 miles) NW of Pago Pago, island of Tutuila, American Samoa
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 14°N 9°E

Accuracy: 44.7 km (27.8 mi)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Our route to the top of Mt. ‘Alava followed Maugaloa Ridge from Fagasa Pass. #3: On a sunny day, Samoa’s island of ‘Upolu can clearly be seen from the slopes of Mt. ‘Alava. #4: We got to see 14S 171W, but only from 27.78 miles away! #5: From the Mt. ‘Avala Trail, another visible landmark is Pola Island (the Cock’s Comb), shown also in the small inset. #6: Among the ginger plants, the GPS shows we were a long way from ten zeroes. #7: At 2142 feet (653m), Matafao Peak would make a better observation point, but the heavily overgrown trail requires a machete. #8: Looking down on the entrance to Pago Pago Harbor. #9: Rainmaker Mountain often catches clouds at Pago Pago. #10: What an “incomplete” confluence visit looks like atop Mt. ‘Alava…

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  14°S 171°W (incomplete) 

#1: Looking over 14S 171W from atop Mt. ‘Alava.

(visited by Woody Harrell)

17-Mar-2007 -- Looking over an overlooked confluence point. Located near the middle of the Samoan Archipelago, 14S 171W lies in the strait separating the islands of 'Upolu (Samoa) and Tutuila (American Samoa). The point is slightly closer to U.S. territory (24 miles) than it is to the independent nation formerly known as “Western Samoa” (28 miles). The surrounding area is not exactly what could be called a hotbed of DCP activity, as only one cp has been visited within 24 degrees in any direction. And for that reason alone I decided this overlooked cp needed some attention, even if it meant posting my first incomplete cp visit…

My purpose in visiting the South Pacific was to finally complete trips to all of the units within the USA’s National Park System. The National Park of American Samoa would make the 390th of currently 390 National Parks I have visited (a project 50 years in the making, with me getting really serious about this quest circa 1988). As the distance from my home in Mississippi was 6345 miles, and as the trip had to be squeezed into a ten day period over spring break, timing would obviously be pretty tight. We wanted to spend several days snorkeling the excellent coral reefs off the island of Ofu, and then have enough time to properly explore Pago Pago and the vicinity.

We were told American Samoa experiences over 330 days a year with measurable precipitation, and arriving towards the end of the rainy season, we saw rain every day. Early in the week, the clouds hung low covering up the high points of the islands, indicating if we had been out to sea confluence hunting, we would not have had much of a view. Towards the end of our week, although we had short night time showers, the days were clear and the views spectacular. We talked to a number of people about deep-sea fishing and all agreed going 25 miles off shore was no big deal for local charter boats. If we had had more time or started planning as soon as we arrived, we’d have tried the American Samoa Game Fishing Association [P.O. Box 191, Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799, Telephone (684) 633-4598] “for those once-in-a-lifetime big and special catching moments.” But we didn’t.

So on our last full day in American Samoa, we decided to hike to the top of 1610 feet [491m] Mount ‘Alava high above Pago Pago Harbor, to see if we might have a clear view to 14S 171W. We drove to the top of Fagasa Pass on Highway 005 and then followed a four mile trail along Maugaloa Ridge to the television tower and former cable car terminus. Early in the hike we could clearly see the island of ‘Upolu 50 miles to the west, which answered the question of whether Mt. ‘Alava would be tall enough for us to see the confluence point. The weather was extremely hot and humid, and even with the volcanic soil, in several places low spots in trail were filled with rainwater, soaking our shoes.

From the summit we had a clear view of the cp 27.78 miles away. I hope when someone finally makes it to 14S 171W the sky will be as clear, as it should make a great picture looking back to where we stood on the island of Tutuila. The view down to the harbor alone was worth the trip, even though in places the smell of the Star-Kist tuna canneries below was very strong. A half hour into our return hike, we noticed the clouds returning, and with a mile to go we were caught in a another torrential downpour. We were glad to get back to our local accommodations at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar where, with the rains now gone again, we swam in beautiful Alega Bay. If you want a base of operations for South Pacific confluence hunting, you can’t find a better place to stay than Tisa’s…


 All pictures
#1: Looking over 14S 171W from atop Mt. ‘Alava.
#2: Our route to the top of Mt. ‘Alava followed Maugaloa Ridge from Fagasa Pass.
#3: On a sunny day, Samoa’s island of ‘Upolu can clearly be seen from the slopes of Mt. ‘Alava.
#4: We got to see 14S 171W, but only from 27.78 miles away!
#5: From the Mt. ‘Avala Trail, another visible landmark is Pola Island (the Cock’s Comb), shown also in the small inset.
#6: Among the ginger plants, the GPS shows we were a long way from ten zeroes.
#7: At 2142 feet (653m), Matafao Peak would make a better observation point, but the heavily overgrown trail requires a machete.
#8: Looking down on the entrance to Pago Pago Harbor.
#9: Rainmaker Mountain often catches clouds at Pago Pago.
#10: What an “incomplete” confluence visit looks like atop Mt. ‘Alava…
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
American Samoa,