Samoa Flag

Samoa Travel Guide

Getting There

By Ship

The Samoa Shipping Corporation runs the 220-passenger car ferry Lady Naomi from Apia to Pago Pago Wednesday at midnight, leaving Pago Pago to return Thursday at 1600 (156 km, seven hours, indoor seating or 116 berths in four-berth cabins). Buy your ticket before 1200 on Tuesday at their office near the main wharf and be prepared to show your passport. If you wait to buy your ticket at the wharf, you won't be allowed aboard until the last minute and all of the good places to sleep on deck will have been taken (it's an overnight trip).

After 220 tickets have been sold, standby passengers are turned away (due to stricter insurance conditions, they don't overload the ship anymore). Take seasickness precautions before boarding. During holiday periods the ship makes two trips, leaving Apia at 2200 on Tuesday and Thursday, and at these times it's often fully booked.

If you'll be returning to Apia by boat, be sure to get a roundtrip ticket, as the fare charged in Pago Pago is much higher. But if you won't be returning, change excess tala back into dollars the day before, because there are no facilities on the wharf. Going by sea you save the S$40 airport departure tax paid by air travelers.

For information on the supply ship to the Tokelau Islands, contact the transport manager at the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office. There's service twice a month. Our site Tokelau has more information.

Southern Cross Stargazing

Southern Cross Stargazing

Look for the Southern Cross (Crux), a constellation in the Milky Way near the south celestial pole. There's a larger false cross to the right, but the real one is brighter. The "pointer stars," Alpha and Beta Centauri, make it easy to positively identify the Southern Cross. Follow the longer axis of the Cross to the left about five times its length to locate the South Pole.

When you are near the equator this line will intersect the horizon. As you move farther south the axis will indicate a location higher in the sky until it points directly overhead when you are at the South Pole itself. Thus, Crux can be used both to find south and to determine latitude, which is 0° at the equator, 13° 50' at Apia, and 90° at the South Pole.

At Apia, if you follow the axis line of the Southern Cross about five times its length to the left it will indicate a point of 13° 50' above the horizon, the latitude of Apia. Seen only from below about 20° north latitude, the Southern Cross is like a brilliant cluster of jewels in the southern sky. It appears on the national flags of Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.