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Introduction

Rose Atoll, sometimes called Rose Island or Motu O Manu by people of the nearby Manu'a Islands, is an oceanic atoll within the U.S. territory of American Samoa. It is an uninhabited wildlife refuge. It is the southernmost point belonging to the United States. The land area is 0.214 km2. The total area of the atoll, including lagoon and reef flat amounts to 5 km2. Just west of the northernmost point is a channel into the lagoon, about 40 metres wide. There are two islets on the northeastern rim of the reef, larger Rose Island in the east (3.5 metres high) and the non-vegetated Sand Island in the north (1.5 metres high).

The first documented sighting by a Westerner was by Louis de Freycinet in 1819. He named it after his wife Rose. While the second woman to circumnavigate the globe, Rose de Freycinet was the first to tell her tale. In his official report Louis de Freycinet records that 'I named Rose Island, from the name of someone who is extremely dear to me'. Soon afterwards, in 1824, it was seen by the expedition under Otto von Kotzebue, who named it Kordinkov after his First Lieutenant.

The Rose Atoll Marine National Monument that lies on the two outstanding islands of the Atoll is managed cooperatively between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the government of American Samoa.

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Sights and Activities

Rose Atoll contains the largest populations of giant clams, nesting seabirds and rare reef fish in all of American Samoa. The fish population is different from the rest of the region due to a high concentration of carnivorous fish and low concentration of herbivorous fish. Almost 270 different species of fish have been recorded in the last 15 years. Tuna, mahi-mahi, billfish, barracuda and sharks reside outside the lagoon. In deeper waters, tunicates and stalked crinoids have been spotted by scuba expeditions. Sea mammals such as the endangered humpback whale and the dolphin genus Stenella also use the waters.

The atoll is a critical nesting habitat for the threatened green turtle and the endangered hawksbill turtle. The turtles migrate between American Samoa and other Pacific Island nations. Their nesting season is between the months of August and February.

Approximately 97% of American Samoa's seabird population resides on Rose Atoll. Each of the 12 bird species is federally protected. Red-footed boobies and greater and lesser frigate birds nest in the buka trees. Black noddies and white terns nest in the middle and lower branches. The root system is used by reef herons and red-tailed tropic birds. Other birds can be found in the Pisonia forest, the only one left in Samoa.

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Weather

Rose Atoll has a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures hoover around 30 °C throughout the year and never drop much lower than 23 °C or 24 °C at night. Temperatures are slightly higher during the wetter November to March period and slightly lower between April and October. This last period is the best season to visit as it rains less (but still significantly) and there is almost no chance of hurricanes, which can strike from December to March.

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Getting There and Around

The only legal way to get there is as a scientist.

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Eat/Drink

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Rose Atoll Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Rose Atoll

This is version 1. Last edited at 12:16 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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