Behind the Lens – Samoan Coconut Blowhole

blowhole samoa coconut

When I began traveling back in 2007 I didn’t know much about photography. From a technical standpoint, this isn’t my greatest photograph, but it is one of the most interesting.

Some backstory is necessary to understand what makes the photo one of my favorite…

On the island of Savai’i are the Alofaaga Blowholes, located near the village of Taga on the south-west side of the island. The blowholes are some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. The blowholes are created when the surf comes under the rocks and the pressure of the waves causes water to shoot up through holes. The unique combination of the rocks and waves at this location make these blowholes so incredible.

What the locals do at the blowhole for tourists is even more spectacular. For a few dollars, someone will take a bunch of coconuts and drop them into the blowhole where they are then shot into the air like a cannon. They can easily reach a hight of 100 feet (30m).

In the image, you can see an outline of a man to the right of the base of the blowhole. He was the man who threw the coconuts into the blowhole for us and he can also give you a sense of scale for how large the blowhole is.

About 1/3 the way up the water spout you can see a small black dot. It almost looks like a bit of dust was caught on the camera sensor. That dot is actually the coconut he placed in the blowhole! You can see how high up it is already and it actually goes much much higher.

If you ever find yourself in Samoa, get over the island of Savai’i (ferry ride from Upolu) and check out the blowholes. They are one of the high points of any trip to Samoa.

Photo Information
Camera: Nikon D200
Focal Length: 32mm
ISO: 200
Aperture: f/11
Exposure: 1/500 sec.

6 thoughts on “Behind the Lens – Samoan Coconut Blowhole”

  1. What an awesome story and beautiful photo. I’m just getting into photography and your pics are really inspiring. Great post, thanks!

  2. Wow! That’s crazy! At first I was thinking these were geysers, but after the explanation, that makes sense too. Sounds like something I could sit and watch for hours and hours and hours…

  3. OMG, I love this! How much money would I have to pay you to be the coconut guy? :-) Definitely an interesting photo.

  4. Great photo mate, well ok photo with a great story! Love the idea of the coconut cannon! Have you been to Geneva? Always been curious about throwing something into that water spout and seeing how high it goes.. :P

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