I am now 76 years old, but when I was 4, I learned to swim in the Lagoon on Swain's Island. My father was in the US Navy and stationed at the Navy base in Pango Pango in 1937-9. He knew a Samoan who owned a copra boat named the Tutuila. He told my father he needed to pick up copra fron Swain's Island but was having trouble finding the island because it was so low on the water and small. My father asked him if they had a radio on the island and he said yes. My father was a radioman in the Navy and said he could find the island with a radio direction finder. My father took my mother, sister, and me, on that old boat with him. It was the first real adventure of my life. Every time we made contact with the island, the direction finder pointed right at it and we went straight to the island. I rember being frightned seeing the anchor on the bottom through the clear water. The Samoans came out in outriggers and took us to shore. They later told my parents that my sister and I were the first white children they had ever seen on the island. After dinner, the samoans went swimming in the lagoon. My father picked me up, told me it was time for me to learn to swim and threw me out in the lagoon as far as he could.
every time I went under, there were Samoan hands pushing me up and in now time at all, I was a very proud dog paddler. That evening the mosquitos were so bad, I could not sleep, I was crying and the Samoans came and fanned the bugs off me so I could sleep. To this day it is all a special memory and I will never forget where and how I learned to swim.