September and October are the peak months when humpback whales (tafolā) visit our balmy waters. It's almost impossible not to get excited when one is spotted. Most of us feel inexplicably privileged for a glimpse into their mysterious world, and there's an uncontrollable urge to shout 'thar she blows'. Part of our fascination with whales is their huge size, of course. Adult humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae) grow up to 50 feet long and weigh about 45 tons (which equals the combined weight of about 250 sumo wrestlers). We rarely get a chance to see the whole whale, except when they make a spectacular leap out of the water. We usually see only their air spout or their humped back as they prepare to dive.
Did You Know?
During the warm months of the southern hemisphere, Samoa’s humpback whales feed in the rich Antarctica waters, 3,200 miles to the south. When Antarctic's bitter winter sets in, humpbacks seek warmer waters, migrating northward, towards Australia and Tonga. At least some migrate onward to Samoa.