Jun 23, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
It's our first full day! Many of us woke early thanks to jet lag, and we filled every mat at Martine's stretch class. During breakfast, we began to see our first atolls in the distance. The islands are low lying and flat, so each one appeared as a tiny strip of beach and palms along the horizon. While we looked forward towards the islands, a rainbow appeared behind us.
After breakfast on deck, we got all of the day’s business dealt with so that we could get on with the adventures: staff introductions followed by Zodiac, kayak, paddleboard, and snorkel briefings. Then Michael Nolan and the photo team gave a primer on digital photography, followed by small group sessions so that more of us felt ready to get out and about with our cameras.
The afternoon began with a swirl of activity as the crew and staff brought our expedition gear ashore. Guests followed us to the beach for a choose-your-own-adventure afternoon. Some of us walked the shore to experience stretches of coral and coconuts, while others set off into the lagoon by kayak. On this first afternoon, with a stiff breeze, one intrepid paddleboarder also adventured out above the coral.
The main attraction today, and for good reason, was snorkeling. Apataki’s lagoon gifted us with shallow corals bursting with life. In some places, the coral nearly reached the surface, and then it ranged down a gentle slope, so it was a great beginning for swimmers of all levels. Some of the coral heads were centuries old, and we spotted fish from every colour of the rainbow. The diversity of life under the sea will be a big part of this journey, and to spend our first day in such spectacular and accessible water was a perfect start.
At Captain's Welcome Cocktail Hour this evening we met some of our crew and learned the history of this beautiful ship that now feels like home.
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