Post 66 — In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

Larson's Bay (photo by David/Kathy Kane)

Larson’s Bay (photo by David/Kathy Kane)

Pushing through the jungle was like an experiment in sensory confusion thought Chrissie, as she followed her sisters down the uneven trail. There was an immediate temperature drop so she felt cooler, but the humidity was worse because the breeze was blocked by the dense foliage so she felt hotter. The light was dappled and in some cases obscured, so as her vision lessened, her sense of touch was heightened. Vague shadows brushed her face. Her imagination ran wild; every shriek from the canopy could be a monkey, every hanging vine might be a poisonous snake! It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

The path they were on was more of a half-road through part of a banana plantation than a full-scale expedition to find Dr. Livingston, but the Broquet girls read a lot and had a bit of a dramatic side. Also, no monkeys or poisonous snakes on the island. The half-mile hike through the jungle was one of their favorite outings; eventually the path would turn into a steep hill and they would struggle to the top, grasping roots to pull themselves up as their feet in slippery thongs scrambled for better footing. Going down was even worse but well worth it, for the roar in the distance meant they were about experience the magnificent vista that was Larson’s Bay, the premiere swimming spot of the whole island.

Getting there was a challenge, but that was what made it so great. Once you cleared the hill and burst out of the jungle, there was a sparkling ocean waiting for you to plunge into and wash off any vegetation that was stuck to your sweaty body. The sand was fine and white and the waves were big and blue, and the whole beach looked like it could be on the cover of a tourist brochure.

Jean has been arranging a safari to Larson’s Bay for July 4th. This is a beautiful little cove with a lovely beach accessible only by a hike through the jungle.  She’s got about seven families lined up for the trek and the way these things snowball half the island might show up. The last time we were there a bunch of Samoan kids were giving me the business about swimming there because some of them used it for a john. Oh well, at least the Hygiene program has them thinking about where they go.


We had a 4th of July picnic expedition . . . to Larson’s Bay. The secluded island paradise reachable through half mile of crawling through the jungle . . . it sounds so Polynesian, doesn’t it? Anyhow, about 19 of us formed a safari and took a lunch into the wilds. When we got there, our secluded rendezvous was crawling with TV personnel. 

So with the people already there and our gang, we had about 36 people, all playing in the waves and getting sunburned. This was the first time we ever had the Samoans outnumbered! It was a beautiful day and the breakers were coming in like crazy. It was too rough to swim and a little too dangerous to go out too far so we were all riding in the breakers in the shallow part. Yes, Grandma, there is an undertow, and we were all extremely careful because we don’t care for the idea of drowning anymore than you do. 


On one side of the beach there was a lava rock that jutted out over the water. Chrissie stood on the sand and watched Carolyn get ready to jump off of it. If you timed it perfectly, you could leap out over the ocean into a breaking wave that would carry you all the way up onto the beach, rolling and gagging on salt water and shrieking with delight at the adrenalin rush. If you didn’t time it perfectly . . . well, sometimes collecting shells on the beach was fun, too.

Her father was lounging on the sand with some of the other TV teachers when a group of Samoan boys ran past her, giggling and pointing. They starting shouting “Lar-ee! Lar-ee!” and then gathered around her father, all of them gesturing and talking at the same time in Samoan. It suddenly dawned on Chrissie that her father was a celebrity, his Hygiene & Sanitation program on how to go to the bathroom shown all over the island. It was the most embarrassing thing that she could possibly imagine, and this was from a girl who had already lost her bathing suit top at a water ballet.

Here is a wonderful video I found on the web. I don’t know the Kuhne family but I want to thank them for taping their trek through the jungle to Larson’s Bay in 2010. This brought back so many memories! (no copyright infringement intended)

4 Comments to “Post 66 — In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle”

  1. Chrissie–you’ve outdone yourself with this post. What a spot! What great memories! Thanks for memoralizing it. And many thanks to the Kuhnes, wherever they may be, for the video. Good stuff. –dg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My wife Tulutululelei, (Caroline Fomai) and I along with our three kids took a solo trip to Larson’s sometime during the year of 1973. We were there all day alone and had a great time.

    I took my professional BLAD-500EL still camera with me and came home with some fine photos which are posted in my Amerika Samoa DVD slideshow program.

    I went back with some divers from “Canton”, (sp) Island in a boat as one of the diver’s found a “black-coral” tree down at the bottom of the lagoon. The top of the tree was about 70 feet below the surface. We all cut off a piece of coral and I still have a black fan about 2′ in diameter.

    In 1992 a company in Hawaii made a deal to build a 700 room hotel on the cliff side.

    I was hired to go back to Pago from San Jose, California and make a SVHS video of the place and of the island as a whole for potential investors. Long corrupted story about it, so the resort never got built. My helicopter’s aerial video of American, Samoa is super nice. We also landed @ “TISA’S BAREFOOT BAR” and the pilot took Tisa for a ride.

    Super VHS video went down the tube when they came out with DVD digital video. I never had my copy of the SVHS video transferred to a DVD…….maybe I’ll do that after seeing this nice video that the “KUHNES” posted.

    Again thank’s!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. It certainly was in the late 60’s, when we assembled there on multiple occasions. We asked permission–always graciously granted–before heading down the trail. Some Hamm’s was presented during the request, as I recall.


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