Jun 25, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
Monday wasn’t hard to wake up to on this morning in late June. The guests of National Geographic Orion woke to a beautiful sunrise over the island of Raroia, in the Tuamotu islands of French Polynesia.
Raroia is a small atoll, located 740 kilometers northwest of Tahiti. Here the expedition team offered snorkeling and scuba diving. The scuba divers took off to the outer reef, where the healthiest and most diverse coral community resides. The snorkelers took to the more protected inner lagoon, where the nicest shallow free-diving can be found. Scuba divers swam amongst huge schools of fish, humpback snapper and bi-color damselfish covered the reef. White-tip reef sharks and grey reef sharks swam alongside, and giant clams filled in coral heads. The snorkelers were similarly surrounded by wildlife, with several black-tip reef sharks paying them a friendly visit. By the end of the day, every single snorkeler had seen a black-tip reef shark. How’s that for thorough?
While navigating to the ship’s afternoon location, National Geographic photographer Jason Edwards gave a talk about his life with National Geographic, traveling as a photographer and the great breadth of experience he’s covered.
In the early afternoon, the ship arrived at a spectacularly remote island; Takume. Takume has potentially never been visited by an expedition ship, as it is small and largely uninhabited. Takume has one pass through its coral barrier, which is wide enough just barely for two Zodiacs to sit next to each other. The entrance was beautiful, lined with sand and trees and opening into a large lagoon. The expedition team immediately set out to scout the region, finding the best opportunity for activities in this brand new location. Inside the lagoon a beautiful beach appeared, creating the perfect opportunity for a landing. With walks and swimming, guests wandered onshore or in the water for the entire afternoon, finding land crabs and sea creatures alike.
The evening drive through the pass and back to the ship was phenomenally beautiful. Once aboard, the guests enjoyed cocktails and the evening’s recap. Happy and full, everyone retired to their cabins for a night’s sleep on the rocking seas.
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