An Account of Samoan History up to 1918
MATAUTU: On the north coast of Savai'i. It is the most frequented harbour in Savai'i. It is open to the north west and is dengerous in all northerly weather. The water shoals from 3 to 7 fathoms. Outside the harbour there is a clear sandy bottom at from 6 to 12 fathoms. Many small vessels foul their anchors here and loose them.
ASAU: On the north west side of Savai'i about twentyfour miles west of Matautu. It is the best harbour in Samoa being well protected on the east and south by the main land and on the north and west by coral reafs. There is a fine sheet of water about two square miles in extent with a denth of from 8 to 12 fathoms and a good bottom of blue mud and shingle. The passage into this harbour is on the western extremity of the bay and faces the north east. It is narrow with about three fathoms of water. Just inside there is a long flat of sand and coral stretching from the reef to the shore and about three-quarters of a mile wide with only 1 to 1½ fathoms of water at high tide. This flat has to be crossed before deep water is reached and at present it is therefore useless except for light craft. A strong current runs out of the harbour passage at ebb tide and the water is shallow for a long distance out. In bad weather the seas break half a mile or more from the reef making it a dangerous passage to get into if there is any surf on.
The late German Government made extensive surveys of this harbour with a view to opening up the passage or making a new one further eastward where the water is deeper outside and the reef more narrow. Whether this was advisable or not is doubtful as the adjacent lands are useless for cultivation being mostly rook. The district is also subject to long draughts. It is sometimes devoid of rain for eight or nine months. Many places round Savai'i have good anchorages outside the reef and are perfectly safe in fine weather or ordinary Trade winds. At Safune 5 miles west of Matautu with the eastern extremity of Safune beach bearing S.S.E., good clear bottom can be found from 5 to 20 fathoms. Several men of war have anchored here. This is one of the best and most convenient places in Samoa page 3 for watering a vessel as the water is of the best quality and boats can go right up to the water and fill the casks without removal from the boats. Off Sataua three miles west of Asau there is a good anchorage in 8 to 15 fathoms under shelter of a point on the eastern side of the village with a sandy bottom. Off Falealupo there is also an anchorage in about 8 fathoms with a bottom of shingle and stone but here the anchorage is close to the reef as the bank does not run far out but suddenly drops into deep water. Similar conditions prevail round almost all the Savai'i coast on the N.W. and S.W. sides. At Salailua on the south coast a good anchorage is found in about 10–12 fathoms between the passages through the reef at Salailua and and Gagaemalae. At Palauli and Satupaitea there is a fair anchorage in the inner harbour for small vesnels and one for larger vessels outside the harbour between the reef and the shoals in about 20 fathoms. There is a coral bottom. At Salelologa where the reef joins the iron bound coast at the southern extremity of the Faasaleleaga district there is a large harbour which was used formerly by whalers in the hurricane season but there are many patches and shoals in this anchorage. On account of its position in the Apolima straits the approaches are subject to calms and strong currents which makes it dangerous for vessels under sail power only.