Whales in Samoa: What Species, When to See Them and Where
The South Pacific is renowned for its whale sightings, especially during the breeding season of humpback whales. But what about Samoa? Samoa might be similar to its neighbours of Tonga, a top destination for whale swimming, in many ways but not when it comes to whale sightings. Located further north and close to the equator, Samoa might be in a migratory path for whales but in much fewer numbers. That’s not to say that you never see whales in Samoa, so check out the best time to spot whales, what species there are and where to see them in this complete guide to whales in Samoa.
Frequently Asked Questions About Whales in Samoa
A lot of people have a lot of questions about whales in Samoa, so before we begin, here are the answers to the most asked questions on the internet about whales in Samoa!
Are there Whales in Samoa?
Whales migrate through Samoa’s ocean that surrounds the islands’ fringing reefs. The most common species seen in Samoa are humpback whales.
Is Samoa Good for Seeing Whales?
Although the South Pacific region is famous for its humpback whale season between the months of June and November, Samoa has much lower humpback whale migrations. There are thought to be fewer than 100 individuals that migrate to Samoa, compared to countries like Tonga which is estimated to have 1,000-2,000 whales during the whale season.
Are Whales Protected in Samoa?
Whales are a protected species around the islands of Samoa, with the country having whale protection legislation. Furthermore, Samoa is a member of The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an international treaty concluded under the United Nations Environment Programme in 1978, which aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
Are There Orcas in Samoa?
Although not a species of whale (they are actually a species of dolphin), orcas are not common to Samoa’s waters. However, as the most widely distributed mammal on Earth (with the exception of humans) it’s unsurprising that there have been rare instances where orcas have been spotted in Samoa.
Whale Species in Samoa
The main species of dolphin you will see in Samoa are humpback whales.
This species of whale frequents much of the South Pacific during their breeding season when they migrate some 6,500 km (4,000 mi) from the Antarctic. They grow to between 15-19 m (49-62 ft) in length and weigh approximately 40 tons. Like most baleen whales, humpback whales do not feed in the tropical waters of the South Pacific.
Other Species Sighted in Samoa
While not as common as humpback whales, other whale species that have been sighted over the last 20 years include blue whales, short-finned pilot whales and an unidentified species of beaked whale, the latter two sighted as part of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium.
The Best Time to See Whales in Samoa
With humpback whales being the most prolific species seen off the shores of Samoa, the best time to see whales here is during the humpback whale breeding season.
Between August and November each year, humpback whales travel some 6,500 km (4,000 mi) from Antarctica to mate and give birth in the warmer waters of the South Pacific. However, the very best month for seeing humpback whales in Samoa is the month of September.
How to See Whales in Samoa
Seeing whales in Samoa is a case of sheer luck. They are there, but in small numbers, making sightings not as common as at other South Pacific islands further south, such as Tonga, Niue and Rarotonga.
There are no dedicated whale watching tours in Samoa. However, those on boat tours, especially those taking you outside of the reef such as fishing and dive charters, have an increased chance of seeing humpback whales during the whale season with the occasional sighting being reported. Check out Samoa’s various boat tours in 7 Best Fishing Charters in Samoa, The Best Dive Shops & Operators in Samoa and 10 Best Boat & Sailing Tours in Samoa.
Alternatively, you may be lucky enough to spot whales breaching beyond the reefs while on Samoa’s shores. Whales have been spotted from resorts along Upolu‘s southern coast, such as Aga Reef Resort, as well as from Manono and Apolima islands.
More About Whales in Samoa
That’s it! That’s our guide to seeing whales in Samoa, as well as the best time to see whales in Samoa. Now, discover more about our marine friends in our other guides:
- 10 Best Places to See Turtles in Samoa
- Can You See Dolphins in Samoa?
- 20 Animals & Birds Found in Samoa
Finally, add more essentials to your Samoa bucket list drawing from the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa.