Fagatele Bay Snorkeling
The MOST popular snorkel dive spot in American Samoa.
Wednesday 14 March 2018 06:45 GMT
Off the southwestern end of Tutuila Island in American Samoa, the snorkeling in Fagatele Bay is well known for its extensive live coral formations and healthy marine life. The bay lies within the protected 0.25 square mile Fagatele Bay Sanctuary Unit, which is part of the National Marine Sanctuary Of America Samoa encompasses over 13,000 square miles in six zones. While snorkeling in the bay, you may encounter parrotfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, damselfish, snapper and grouper.
To reach the parking for snorkeling at Fagatele Bay from Pago Pago, head west on Route 1 to Futiga Village. Just prior to the US Mart, turn left on the road past the landfill to the locked gate at the end of the road. It is a 3.5km hike from the gate to the bay on lava trails. From the access roads, there is a trail leading down to Fagatele Bay from the roads. This trail crosses private land that requires permission prior to crossing. You can either try contacting the family beyond the gate yourself, or contact the Marine Sanctuary staff a day or two in advance for them to arrange permission with the family. The family may charge a small fee. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary can be accessed from the village of Futiga from Monday to Friday 7.30 a.m to 4.00 p.m and Saturday, 7.30 a.m to 1.30 p.m.
American Samoa is a protected territory of the United States Of America and is located about 2,500 miles from Hawaii. It consists of five volcanic islands (Tutuilla, Aunu’u, Ofu, Olsega and Ta’u) and two atolls (Rose and Swains), which are all at the eastern end of the Samoan archipelago. The waters are habitat for over 150 coral species, hawksbill turtles, green sea turtles and dozens of whale and dolphin species.
Overall, the Samoans are the largest population of Polynesian people. They take great pride in their culture, Fa’a-Samoa, which refers to the traditional Samoan way of life. It places great importance on achievements of the family group (aiga) over the individual and on dignity. Most Samoans are bilingual where they speak English in public and Samoan at home or among friends. If you plan to access a beach located within a community or near a home, make sure to ask permission first (a small donation may be requested). Also, keep in mind that the Samoan culture is very conservative; in many areas bikinis are discouraged.
The best snorkeling in American Samoa is during the dry season from April through September. During the wet season from November to March, it is known to be really, really wet with severe tropical storms. Year-round, the average daily temperature is right around 85F. With the constant moisture, there are plenty of swarming mosquitos, so make sure to bring bug spray and a mosquito net for sleeping.
After a long morning of snorkeling on Tutuila Island, try heading to Tisa’s Barefoot Bar located east of Pago Pago at Alega Beach for a cool drink. They have a great local feast every Wednesday evening.
To reach the snorkeling in American Samoa by air, fly into Pago Pago International Airport (PPG) on Tutuila Island near the village of Tafuna (11km west of Pago Pago). The Pago Pago International Airport is served weekly by three international airlines including Hawaiian Airlines, Polynesian Airlines and Talofa Airways, which originate in Honolulu (5 hours), Tonga and Apia, Samoa (35 minutes). In addition, there is inter-island air service by Inter-Island Airways to the Manu’a Island Group (Ofu, Olosega, Ta’u).
TIP: Keep in mind that there was a significant tsunami in 2009 that damaged American Samoa. These large events tend to damage the shallow water reef formations; there are reports that the coral is slowly starting to regenerate in the waters off American Samoa.
Overall, Fagatele Bay is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 4 snorkeling dives in American Samoa.