This will be a short blog, as it was a brief, amusing story that will only truly resonate with those of us who have rode the ferries’ of Samoa. On Saturday morning after my epic journey to get to the wharf, I found myself situated on the small ferry at 11:45am, just 15 minutes before the ferry was to depart. Gazing at the sea, I felt a sense of unease as I had not taken any Dramamine, but the weather looked promising and the waves seemed pretty flat from my prospective. I took out my travel lavalava (I always bring an extra to use as a pillow, bed sheet, or towel), crumbled it up into a ball, and put my head down to nap.
I awoke 15 minutes into the trip. A storm had blown in and the ferry was splashing water on our ankles. Too tired to care and a bit seasick, I put my bag on the seat beside me and went back to attempting sleep. At one ‘o clock I received a call from Dana: “We can get our tattoo’s at 3:30 today, does that work for you?” I excitedly answered yes, but checking the progress of the boat, I was not so sure. Land was not in sight after an hour on the boat, and the journey usually only takes about an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes.
An hour and a half into the journey we were still a good distance from land, and when we finally docked, it was just before two. Then to the shock of us all, the ramp that lets passengers, both on foot and in vehicles, onto the ferry, was stuck – it would not lower! I called Lili and was about to call Dana to tell her I would not be making it to town on time, when the ferry workers pulled out the entrance ramps that are used with the big ferry (the big ferry has a side entrance for passengers) and in a makeshift manner, they propped the ramp up against the side of the small ferry. It barely reached, so four workers had to hold it in place as we crossed in a single file across the ramp and onto the waiting dock. The two men on the end helped people step down, as there was a gap about a foot high between the ramp and the pavement below. The five cars that had been on the boat were out of luck, although they must have made it off at some point because they were not there the next morning when I returned to Savaii.
I hailed a taxi, got to town at 3pm, and had just enough time to visit the market before heading over for my tattoo. But that’s another story, read on to see how that went!