Lighthouses of Samoa
The Samoan Islands are an archipelago of Polynesia in the South Pacific
Ocean. The islands were partitioned in 1900; the large western islands
of 'Upolu and Savai'i were assigned to Germany and the smaller eastern
islands to the United States. German Samoa, as it was called, was occupied
by troops from New Zealand in 1914, early in World War I. Renamed Western
Samoa, it remained under New Zealand administration until it became the
independent nation of Samoa in 1962. The eastern islands, American Samoa,
remain a U.S. territory.
The capital of independent Samoa is Apia, on the north coast of 'Upolu.
Aids to navigation in the country are maintained by the Maritime
Division of the Ministry of Works, Transport & Infrastructure.
Special thanks to Michel Forand for his research on Samoan lights.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume K of the
Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers
are from Publication 111.
- General Sources
- World of Lighthouses - Samoa
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- A useful map posted on Wikipedia.
- * Apolima
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); three white flashes every
10 s. 7 m (23 ft) round metal tower with gallery, painted white. Stephan Petaia has a 2012 closeup photo,
Wikipedia has a view
of the island from the sea (at highest magnification the light can be seen
on the ridge at right), the light can also be seen in another view from the sea (click on the photo for magnification), and Google has a satellite
view. Apolima is an inhabited island in the center of the Apolima Strait,
which separates 'Upolu from Savai'i. The lighthouse is accessible from the one island village by a
trail that ends with a very long staircase; the view is worth the climb, according to at least one visitor. Island accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4614; NGA 3140.
Apia Range Front Light, July 2008
copyright Kerstin C.; permission requested
- * Apia Range Front (2)
- Date unknown (station established 1888). Active; focal plane 16.5
m (54 ft); green light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 16 m (52 ft) steel post, painted with red and white horizontal bands, adjacent to a small
1-story equipment shelter. A photo is above right, the tower is at the
right in Amy and Turgay Yildizli's view from the sea, and Google has a satellite
view. This modern light replaced a 16.5 m (54 ft) wood tower that is still listed by NGA. Located on the waterfront
in front of the Samoan
Government Building. Site open, tower closed.
ARLHS SAM-001; Admiralty K4598; NGA 3112.
- * Apia Range Rear (2)
- Date unknown (station established 1888). Active; focal plane 67 m (220 ft);
white flash every 4 s. 6 m (20 ft) steel post, painted with red and
white horizontal bands, adjacent to a small 1-story equipment shelter. No
photo available, but Google has a satellite
view. Located on the lower slopes of Mt. Vaea south of Apia, about 1.2
km (3/4 mi) south of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4598.1;
- [Apia East Breakwater]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 4 s. 8 m (26 ft) round steel post, painted white. Google has a satellite view. Located on a short breakwater on the east side of the entrance to Apia harbor. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4600; NGA 3118.
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 64 m (210 ft); white flash every
5 s. 3 m (10 ft) aluminum tower. No photo available, but Google has
a satellite view. Located atop Fanuatapu, a small island off the eastern tip
of 'Upolu. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty K4594;
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
- The Apia Clock Tower (about 1920) is often mistaken for a lighthouse. It is a fine daybeacon on the Apia waterfront, but as far as is known it never carried a navigation light. It was built as a memorial to Samoans who lost their lives fighting for Britain in World War I.
Adjoining pages: North: Kiribati | East: American Samoa | South: Tonga | West: Wallis
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Posted August 22, 2010. Checked and revised April 16, 2015.
Lighthouses: 3. Site copyright 2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.