Apr 10, 2019 - National Geographic Orion

What are the elements of a perfect day on a Lindblad expedition? Strikingly beautiful location? Check. Engaging cultural interactions? Check. Up-close encounters with wildlife? Check. Scrumptious food? Check. Gorgeous weather? Check. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences? Check. Okay, there were no dramatic icebergs or penguin sightings, but Polynesia can’t have everything, now can it?

If one were to look up “paradise” in the dictionary, I wouldn’t be surprised to find “Fakarava” in the second or perhaps third definition. We spent the morning exploring the main village of Roatava, where we shopped for black pearls, took a quick bike ride, or just relaxed and listened to the excellent local band that performed traditional songs at the harbor.

After yet another delicious lunch (today’s theme was Greek food, with moussaka, souvlaki, and a feta-tomato-olive leaf salad), National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez gave a thought-provoking presentation on the roots of humanity’s artistic nature and his own work documenting prehistoric cave paintings.

Many of our group then headed to the snorkel platform, where we enjoyed the best reef of the trip so far. As dozens of black-tipped sharks swam calmly around us, we were treated to an explosion of color and movement provided by swarms of exotic tropical fish. It was a like swimming in a pet-store aquarium (yet a bit more grand). I personally was entranced by a rich yellow trumpet fish.

Our day ended with a stimulating presentation by Poemoana, a world-renowned Tahitian dancer. Joined by her creative partner Mareikura Brightwell, Poemoana demonstrated the poetic nature of this ancient art form, which uses hand gestures and body movements to tell stories and legends. Banned for many years by Christian missionaries and oppressive French colonial authorities, Tahitian traditional dance has experienced a revival in recent years as young people have sought to renew their unique cultural expressions. Today was certainly a full one, and the kind that stay in one’s memories for some time.

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About the Author

Jacob Edgar

Cultural Specialist

Jacob Edgar is an Ethnomusicologist, world music tastemaker and global explorer with an insatiable curiosity for the diverse ways in which people express themselves through music. Jacob’s adventures have taken him to dozens of countries, and hundreds of the world’s greatest international music festivals, showcases and performance venues in search of exceptional musical talents. Since 1998, Jacob has been the main music researcher for the acclaimed world music compilations label Putumayo World Music, contributing songs and liner notes to over 300 Putumayo collections that combined have sold over 15 million copies. In 2006, Jacob founded the record label Cumbancha, whose artists include some of the top names in international music. In 2009, Jacob embarked on a new adventure as host of a new music and travel television program Music Voyager. The series invites viewers to discover the exciting sounds of the planet and broadcasts on PBS and other stations around the world. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College, where he was a double major in History and Latin American Studies, Jacob conducted field research on music and society in Central America. His love of music took him to the West Coast where Jacob was awarded the Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and graduated from University of California, Los Angeles in 1994 with a Masters in Ethnomusicology.

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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