As is now the norm on this voyage, many of us gathered on the outer decks very early in the morning. We enjoyed the last of the stars and the fading moon as we began a new day of adventure with seabirds and wildlife all around us. We entered the Fakarava Atoll and navigated our way to the small community of Rotoava, where we had the chance to explore by foot or by bike. In the afternoon, we geared up for some great snorkeling. We enjoyed glass-bottom Zodiac outings to discover a myriad of fish and other forms of life in these waters. At sunset, a very special surprise awaited us. The hotel team prepared a floating cocktail party on a secluded beach for us to enjoy as we watched the sunset. A fantastic ending to a very special day!
National Geographic Resolution
Tahanea Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia
Entering the pass of an atoll in French Polynesia is always a beautiful way to start the day. This morning we arrived at Tahanea, a small island with no permanent population. The water here is some of the clearest our staff have ever seen in this region. With winds and currents to contend with, our divers found a beautiful site to spend some time underwater. They enjoyed a healthy coral reef, some sharks, and large fish. On their way back to the ship they even found some manta rays and jumped in the water to snorkel with them. The rest of us split into two groups: the hikers and the swimmers. The hike ashore was full of birds and plants to observe and photograph. The swimmers launched from the snorkel platform into crystal water where they poked around the coral heads and grew even more comfortable swimming with reef sharks. We had an afternoon aboard. We began with a presentation by our guest speaker Tom Ritchie about the most useful plants in Polynesia. At tea time, the hotel team put out 13 different sweet treats, not to mention the sandwiches and fruit. Before recap, undersea specialist James Hyde gave us a condensed history of the natural world—starting with the big bang! Tomorrow will be a busy day for us as we transit to some islands we have never visited before. So it’s quiet on board this evening as we all head to bed to rest up for whatever tomorrow has in store.