French Polynesia

Aug 21, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


Today we are sailing in the calmest Pacific Ocean we’ve seen in quite some time. We have to cover 446 nautical miles to get to Nuku Hiva, our next destination. The ocean had almost no swells and we could observe flying fish gliding above the water.

Having very busy expedition days so far, the prospect of having time to enjoy the comfort of our ship, National Geographic Orion, is welcoming. We had time to learn from our expedition staff about varied subjects related to the area we’re visiting. Our cultural specialist, Heidy Baumgartner, showed us part of her work in archaeological research in the Marquesas Islands, focusing in the beautiful rock art we will find in this group of islands. Later, our National Geographic photographer on board, Ralph Lee Hopkins, gave a fascinating lecture on expedition photography and how to tell our stories through the images we take.

After lunch we had a special surprise for our guests. We stopped our ship in the middle of the ocean and we went for a refreshing deep ocean swim. The bottom of the ocean was 12,000 feet below us! In the afternoon we learned from our dive master, Maya Santangelo, about manta rays. She explained their unique anatomy, details about their reproductive cycle, and their behavior. I gave a lecture on tattoos in Polynesian culture: what they mean, how they were done, and how the first European sailors were fascinated by the intricate designs they found in these islands. In the evening, naturalist Tom Ritchie explained the work of the Pristine Seas Organization, and its relationship with Lindblad Expeditions.

Tomorrow at sunrise we will have Nuku Hiva in front of us, our first visit to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.

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About the Author

Alex Searle

Naturalist

Born in Chile and raised in Argentina, Alex spent his childhood living in different parts of these countries and getting to know the local cultures.

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