At Sea, Between Tuamotus and Marquesas

Jun 26, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

After several days of exploration in the Tuamotus Archipelago, comprised of many coral atolls and ecologically-rich reefs, National Geographic Orion began sailing northeast to the Marquesas. Approximately 500 nautical miles away, and in a time zone 30 minutes ahead, our next destination will be quite different from the places and communities we’ve experienced so far. Coral atolls are generally low-lying (five meters above sea level or so) while the Marquesas are young volcanic islands with jagged peaks, steep-sided valleys, and abundant vegetation.

All aboard enjoyed the change of pace offered by a day at sea, engaging in lectures by expedition staff on topics from geology to regional history to common fish species to rock art. Guests also took the opportunity to relax and catch up on projects set aside during our earlier very busy days – a bit of extra sleep, reading, filtering out bad photos, visiting the bridge to learn about navigation, bird-watching, playing board games, and partaking in tropical cocktails.

Today’s featured cocktail was “sex on the beach,” one shot of vodka, one half shot of peach schnapps, one half glass of cranberry juice, and one half glass of orange juice. In total, beautifully layered colors in the glass reminiscent of a sunset. Ray, the head barman, noted that piña coladas and maitais were particularly popular choices as well.

Seemingly every hour, National Geographic Orion’s galley staff produced more delicious snacks and desserts! Favorite of the day was definitely the bright purple taro ice cream, made onboard and the latest in a diverse array of flavors. Taro is a starchy root typically eaten with fish, but this creative treat was a wonderful surprise!

Tomorrow morning we will arrive at Hatiheu, Nuku Hiva, and head ashore for walks, exploration of ancient ceremonial sites, and tasting tropical fruits.

  • Send

About the Author

Heidy Baumgartner-Lesage

Cultural Specialist

Originally from Lucerne, Switzerland, archaeological restorer and conservator Heidy has lived in Tahiti since 1986, working with the local Department of Archaeology in excavations throughout French Polynesia and as a freelance tour guide and lecturer. 

About the Photographer

Deb Goodwin


Passionate about creating opportunities for explorers of all ages to engage with wild and under-studied places, Deb embraces the power of immersive experiences to inspire curiosity and conservation. Extended backcountry expeditions as a teen jumpstarted this commitment and continue to motivate her travels. No matter the location, she observes the natural environment with a detective’s mindset, seeking to understand how local history, geology, weather, and ecological processes together shape the coastal land- and seascape. 

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy