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?
The are two fruit bat species in American Samoa--the only native mammals. They are important pollinators and seed distributors in the tropical rainforests.