Lindblad Expeditions / National Geographic
EXPLORATIONS – A Lindblad Expeditions Blog

Expedition Recon: Makatea History & Wildlife

Sven-Olof Lindblad is in the South Pacific right now leading a reconnaissance trip to seek out never-before-offered experiences and ultimate snorkel and dive sites for guests on our five new 2018 South Pacific & French Polynesia expeditions.

Photo by Kristin Hettermann

The view from Makatea, French Polynesia.

Photo by Kristin Hettermann

Our team met with the Mayor of Makatea who led us to some sites on the island in planning for our upcoming South Pacific & French Polynesia expeditions. We’re eager to take our guests off the beaten path and we can do so by forming meaningful relationships in the places we explore. The mayor shared some of the island’s history, which includes a phosphate mine started in the early 1900s and was abandoned nearly overnight in 1964. At its peak the island was a hub of activity with hundreds of miners digging cylindrical holes about eight feet wide and 75 feet deep to extract phosphate.

Photo by Kristin Hettermann

Meet the coconut crab, weighing up to nine pounds and measuring up to three feet leg-to-leg it is the world’s largest land-living arthropod. Our team spotted some in French Polynesia. What do coconut crabs eat? Why coconuts, of course. “Coconut Crabs are big and highly prized selling for 30 plus dollars each. Nocturnal, locals bait them with cracked coconuts and then catch them while feeding with great care as those claws can easily take off a finger.” —Sven-Olof Lindblad.

 

Photo by Kristin Hettermann

Meeting some of the next generation on Raiatea.