October 09, 2008 | Comments 0

Swains Island a Small Wonder In the Pacific

swains-island-samoa-150x150Swains Island, part of the American Samoa, is part of the Tokelau island chain and is part of the United States of America. The island is approximately some 372 acres in size. The whole area has a unique structure as it has a freshwater lagoon that is enclosed within the island. This is the islands source of water as well. It is also surrounded by a ring of sand and corals, and a lot of coconut palm tree vegetation. Swains only has a population of 37 people.

The small isle was first discovered by a Portuguese navigator under the Spanish flag named Pedro Fernandez de Queiros and named the island Isla de la Gente Hermosa. During the 1800’s, Captain Henry Hudson came across the island and named it Swains Island. It was in 1856 that American Eli Jennings claimed ownership to the island and eventually set up a settlement with his Samoan wife. Jennings actions eventually led to Swains Island becoming a proprietor island. For travelers who are interested in visiting Swains Island, a permit would have to be acquired from the Jennings family. There are chartered boats that occasionally ferry travelers to the island.

Swains Island has very limited accommodations; in fact there are no hotels in the area. There aren’t many activities that can be done on Swains but tourists can opt to visit its neighboring islands. On the island of Tutuila, travelers may visit the National Park of American Samoa. You can experience a diverse selection of wild life through hiking and bird watching. A 3-mile hike trail to the peak of Mount Alava would be a great idea as it would open up a beautiful view of the island and shorelines. Hiking though spectacular rain forests, waterfalls, and different sandy beaches both black and white are just some of the sights to see in the National Park. For travelers who are interested in viewing old artifacts and local Samoan artifacts, then visiting the John P. Hayden Museum would be perfect. It is said to be an old WWII naval commissary that the local government has transformed into a museum. Tourists can pick from a variety of hotels in the area. The average price is around $140 pegged all year round.

The island also offers beautiful white sand beaches that can be found in Ofu. A lot of tourists come to these parts of the American Samoa since the beaches are know to be one of the best in the Pacific. There are atleast 300 species of fish and about 150 of corals that can be found in these waters. Another good activity that travelers can do aside from beach-bumming and sun bathing would be snorkeling. It would be wise to bring your snorkeling gear to the islands so you could enjoy the experience of the biodiversity of these waters. There is also a view of the volcanoes on the island where Tumu Mountain would be the highest peak. Lodging in Ofu is on an average of at least $40 all year round. It is perfect for travelers from all ages, single or with families.

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