Nukutavake, Tuamotu Archipelago

Apr 07, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

We arrived today at Nukutavake just before dawn. Upon receiving permission from the mayor of this small community, we were let into the town to explore and visit with those living here. They welcomed us with some of the warmest hospitality one could hope to find in Polynesia.

To our astonishment, we came to find that this island had not been visited by a ship in more than ten years!

It being Sunday, we attended mass in a small house beside the church. This church has been under renovation in recent years, so they hold now their services in a smaller place for the time being. Even with the little room available, they grant us space, and we were able to meet and engage.

The primary export of Nukutavake is copra, dried coconut flesh that are used to make coconut oil. At the dock a small group sang for us, followed by dance.  We had fun, made new friends, and shared our time with the people of Nukutavake. This is a jovial place, and one we hope to visit again in the future.

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About the Author

Alex Searle


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.

About the Videographer

Steve Ewing

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Steve fell in love with the beauty of the natural world at an early age. In addition to nature, his other main passion was telling stories though the medium of television and radio. Steve studied broadcast journalism at the University of Oregon. There, he learned how to shoot, edit, and report compelling stories using digital video.

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