Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wednesday December 24, 2014 - Amanave and Cape Taputapu

Today, we arrived at the wards for rounds.  I presented my patients to the team - very straight and to the point - but very thorough - which was again a refreshing change from residency (although I do understand the value of anal-retentive rounding with regards to training and safety).

Dr. Marrone was on call the night before, and he admitted another kid < 1 month with concern for sepsis.  He let me do the lumbar puncture by myself this time, which I was surprised to say that I got on the first try! (Dr. Marrone is a great teacher).

After rounding on my patients, I spent the day in clinic until early afternoon.  Afterwards, I went back out to the Broge house.  The weather was warm, about 87 degrees.  The water was absolutely amazing - the clearest I have ever seen.  Even more so than the Caribbean.

Part of the reason why the water is so clear is that there is very little sand on the island.  It is mostly coral and volcanic rock.  The coral is very colorful, and there were more fish in one spot than I have seen anywhere else (including Mexico and the Caribbean).

Prior to coming to American Samoa, I splurged and purchased an underwater camera (Fujifilm Finepix XP70).  I tested it out in the water, and the results were incredible.  Check out this video that I took just 20 feet from the shoreline in about four feet of water:

The water is very shallow for about 50 yards, then it hits the "break", a sharp dropoff of about 50-100 feet that was formed during the volcanic eruptions that formed the island.  The coral is almost razor-sharp, and you cannot go into the water without water shoes designed for coral reefs. (Thank you, Andrew, for your Christmas present - the shoes came in handy!)

Despite my best efforts, I did end up falling and hitting my knee on the coral (hurt like heck).

Matt, Nolan, Noah, and I walked out along the rocks to one of the break points - just below an island called "five palms", named after the five palm trees that grow in the top.

Photo I: Matt and Noah just prior to our trek to the rocks

 Photo II: The view of the 5 palms

Photo III: Balto, the family dog (adopted stray from the island) decided to join us!

Photo IV: Another view of the five palms

Photo V: There were numerous crabs and lizards (too many to count) crawling all over the rocks

Video II: Here is a view from beyond the rocks (really does not do the size of the waves justice... they were huge!)

I spent the night over at their house.  The next day was Christmas, and a holiday - so no clinic!  I had the whole day off.

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