AMERICAN SAMOA is located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of the sovereign state of Samoa. The two neighbouring Samoas are very different from each other, American Samoa being a US Territory, whilst Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa, is an independent state.
American Samoa comprises five rugged volcanic islands and two coral atolls – all the Samoan islands east of the 171° parallel, that is the main (largest and most populous) island of Tutuila, the Manu’a Islands, Rose Atoll, and Swains Island. American Samoa is located west of the Cook Islands, north of Tonga, and some 500km (300 miles) south of Tokelau. To the west are the islands of the Wallis and Futuna group. Pago Pago (pronounced “Pango Pango”) is the capital of American Samoa. It is one of the largest villages and is located on the eastern side of Tutuila island in Ma’oputasi County district.
Pago Pago Bay is one of the most dramatic harbours in the South Pacific, a region not unknown for dramatic landscapes. It is a splendid deep water natural harbour offering the best protection from strong winds of all South Pacific islands. Pago Pago attracts cruising yachts, either to reprovision in its well-stocked supermarkets, or to shelter from the cyclone season in its scenically beautiful harbour.
Eons ago, the massive seaward wall of a volcano collapsed and the sea poured in. Today, dramatic mountain peaks encircle the harbour. The town is dominated by looming Mt. Pioa, whose summit draws moisture-bearing clouds, earning it the nickname of The Rainmaker. Indeed, Pago Pago draws more than its fair share of rain; the island of Tutuila is a vision of deep, verdant green.
Pago Pago is also the cheapest place in the region to stock up on provisions and fuel. An international airport with good connections is close to the harbour. It is also home to a large tuna fishing fleet and cannery and thus there are some support services for large vessel maintenance when needed.