Jul 25, 2018 - National Geographic Orion
We entered the beautiful lagoon of Fakarava Atoll just after sunrise. After breakfast we disembarked and spent the morning in a small town on the atoll, just strolling, pearl shopping, and bicycle riding. The highlight of the morning undoubtedly was that we got to meet Marcelo the nurse shark. Nurse sharks have made friends with some of the locals here and come to the beach often. It was an incredible feeling to get so close to such a magnificent animal and then get to even touch its sandpaper-like skin. Not only did we get to touch a shark, but in the afternoon, we got to swim with some! We repositioned the ship to the atoll of Toau and found a very healthy reef to snorkel on—a reef that very few people get to experience and that no expedition ships had ever visited before. Healthy large coral heads (Porites) everywhere, decorated with many kaleidoscopically colored Christmas-tree worms! Black-tipped reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, parrotfish, guineafowl pufferfish, trumpetfish, butterflyfish—such diversity and colors!
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