For many years I had been reading about sailors crossing the Pacific Ocean. One of the my favorite topics was about the experiences of visiting the Tuamotus atolls in French Polynesia. Atolls are actually ancient volcanic islands which over the eons have re-submerged until all that is left is a raised round reef, which circled the location of the original island, and a lagoon in the middle. Land formed on the surrounding reef, so you have islands in a circle around the lagoon. Polynesian people settled on the many atolls in this region with plentiful fish in the passes of the lagoon, coconut trees on the islands, and pearl farms in the the lagoon. The people are friendly, and the beauty of these atolls is unbelievable.
Our first atoll was Manihi. It not only lived up to my expectations, but left an unforgettable imprint on my life. We had such a fantastic time visiting there! From the moment of our arrival at the anchorage (seen above), to the moment we had to leave to visit the next atoll, it was an experience of a lifetime. We snorkeled the pass with thousands of fish, shark, eels, octopus, and lobster. We visited a pearl farm in the lagoon, picked our own oysters and learned how to extract pearls. We met the island people. We took a night dive on the outer reef. We kayaked the lagoon and visited islands. We watched sunsets and visited a polynesian resort. Read about our experiences at Manihi and see lots of photos in this post. It includes photo albums of our diving, and many of the sights we saw there.
While we were there, we flew my kite aerial photography rig and took images of the village from above which ended up being published in Google Earth. You can not only see the photos I took in this blog post, but also visit Google Earth or Maps and see the very high resolution imagery of the village there.
We have been back in the US visiting friends and family for three weeks. Already, I’m yearning to go back to our boat Tahina, and continue our journey so we can experience even more moments like those we had at Manihi. We return to Australia next week, and will begin heading north to the Great Barrier Reef.