Ofu Island Snorkeling
The 4th most popular snorkel dive spot in American Samoa.
Thursday 15 March 2018 07:02 GMT
East of Tutuila Island in the Manu'a Island group, the snorkeling off Ofu Island offers some of the clearest waters in American Samoa. This small volcanic island is sparsely populated but has a spectacular fringing reef.
Ofu Island is a little further afield and can be a challenge to get to. There are weekly flights on Inter Island Airways into the small airstrip on the southwest end of the island next to the Va’oto Lodge. There are a few flights a week in Ofu from nearby Ta’u Island. There are boat transfers available from Ta’u Island to Ofu Island. Since both runways are short and service small planes, there are strick luggage maximum weight limits, so plan ahead.
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 at Alega Beach, stop by Tisa’s Barefoot Bar 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, Samoa Airways 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, Ofu Island is the 4th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 4 snorkeling dives in American Samoa.