Being by the ocean, listening to the waves, can bring feelings of serenity and peace. Playing in the water with the kids can be a blast. Building sand castles or being buried in the sand is the stuff memories are made of. Almost every beach has something to love, but there are some beaches that have a little something extra that makes them special. Se’etaga, or as our kids call it, Brown Sand Beach, is one of the special ones.
What We Love about Se’etaga Beach
Se’etaga Beach is one of the longer beaches on Tutuila (the main island of American Samoa) and boasts beautiful, soft, chocolate-brown sand. The kids love the diversity of color, as it is one of the only brown sand beaches on the island. Because of the darker color, the sand is always warm, while never too hot.
Since I’m a mom and usually have a car full of kids who are ready to be out and playing, the proximity of the beach is worth noting. Se’etaga Beach is found right in between Nua and Utumea West, close enough that you could make a day out of playing at all three. Plus, there’s a small convenience store across the street, perfect for last minute snacks or after-beach treats.
The beach is lined with mature coconut trees that offer shade from mid-morning through the rest of the day. This makes it easy to play in the sand and hot sun, knowing that you can cool off in the shade. It’s perfect for afternoon beach naps, picnic lunches, or just taking a break from the sun.
Rocks and Fallen Trees
I don’t know about your kids, but ours love to climb! And Jump! Scattered along Se’etaga Beach are remnants of the island’s creation and present day evolution. Large volcanic rock formations and cyclone-broken trees offer kids of all ages (Nate and myself included) nature’s best playground equipment. They’re perfect for climbing, jumping, setting up “house”, fighting off pirates, or blasting off to the moon. There’s no limit to what a rock or uprooted tree can become when seen through a child’s eyes.
Some of the volcanic rock formations continue down the sloping shore, to be eroded by the relentless ocean waves. Those found within the tidal zone have transformed into magical tide pools, perfect for inquisitive minds and gentle fingers. You could spend hours exploring the sea-life found within, topped off with a little more imaginative play, and jumping into oncoming waves.
There are a few things to be aware of at Se’etaga Beach, especially at high tide.
The waves grow with the rising tide. As the water level rises over the off-shore coral reef, it allows bigger and stronger waves to reach the shore. Most of the time, the waves are just big enough to be fun to play in close to shore, but they can grow to a more violent size, which is usually our cue to pack up and call it a day.
Ava or Rip Tide
An ava (rip tide) is a strong, narrow current that moves away from shore, in this case between a break in the coral reef. With trained eyes, you can spot an ava from shore and know which area to avoid. When in doubt, ask a local, they’ve probably lived there long enough to know exactly where it is. This doesn’t mean, the whole beach is dangerous, just be aware and avoid the ava.
If you find yourself being carried away from shore, don’t panic. You can try to swim parallel to shore, out of the ava. If it’s too strong to break through, let it carry you out, once you’re past the reef, you’ll be able to make your way back to shore, outside of the ava zone.
A longshore current, just like it sounds, is a swift current that moves along the shore. For confident swimmers, they aren’t usually a threat, but when they carry you into the path of an ava, they can spell danger. Again, it’s only at high tide that you’ll encounter longshore currents at Se’etaga Beach, but it’s always smart to be vigilant.
For more information on these and other potential dangers found at the beach, read 6 Rules When Visiting a New Beach.
For something a little out of the ordinary, try our favorite chocolate-brown sand beach. The kids will find plenty onshore to keep them busy all day long, while you relax under the shade of a coconut tree or you could join them in the water and play in the waves until the tide comes in. Either way, make a day of it and see for yourselves what makes Se’etaga Beach so special.
Tell me, have you ever been to a chocolate-brown sand beach? What did you think?