Jun 11, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
Early morning light found National Geographic Orion on approach to Ra’iatea Island, the second largest island in the Society Islands. This island shares a fringing reef and inner lagoon with Taha’a just to the south. Bringing the ship through one of the passes into the inner sanctuary of the lagoon is always fascinating to watch as we are surrounded in seas less than a fathom deep!
Our morning was spent at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Marae Taputapuātea, an important cultural area established sometime around 1,000 AD. This sacred ceremonial and funerary complex is quite extensive and once served as a gathering place for priests and Polynesian way finders from islands all over the Polynesian Triangle. The beautiful patterns in the basaltic structures made for a photographic dream as well!
We repositioned the ship to Taha’a Island in the afternoon to enjoy a family run vanilla plantation as well as snorkeling and beach time on our own little private motu, a small island lying directly on one of the channels cutting through the outer fringing reef. Very different experiences, but both perfect examples of what French Polynesia has to offer.
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