Huahine, French Polynesia

Apr 25, 2019 - National Geographic Orion


Our final morning in French Polynesia let off with a dramatic sunrise while we made our way toward the unique island of Huahine; two actually, and fused by bridge. After a week of excellent weather conditions, we were graced by authentic Polynesian rain just in time to head to shore for our morning exploration. Many of us boarded the famous “Le Truck” to take a cultural tour of the the Maeva Archeological Site, a local vanilla plantation, traditional stone fish, and to see the unique “blue-eyed” freshwater eels. Others ventured by 4x4 to hike to enjoy beautiful views, learning about tropical vegetation and the island’s history.

Repositioning after lunch, we spent our afternoon exploring below the Polynesian sea surface, snorkeling among the shallow reefs of the lagoon and taking in the stunning scenery via kayak and stand-up paddleboard. Large schools of surgeon and goat fish darted around several species of corals, while the grey skies made for a dramatic backdrop against the perfect turquoise waters. We concluded the final day of our Polynesian adventure wonderfully, with a cocktail party hosted by our Captain Heidi Norling, complete with a showing of our trip slideshow created by photo instructor Jeff Litton. These before another amazing dinner and our putting off packing for popcorn and tasty moana in the lounge. A fantastic way to wrap up our journey, leaving us eager for more in the future!

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About the Author

Maya Santangelo

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Maya was born and raised in Southern California, where her curiosity for the natural world was encouraged from an early age. Relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family at 11 years old, she learned to scuba dive, eventually becoming a PADI Instructor. Her fascination for the underwater world undoubtedly fueled her interest to study marine biology at James Cook University. Working as a professional guide in some of the world’s top dive destinations, including Palau and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Archipelago, Maya realized a passion for sharing her love for the ocean with others, and the value of citizen science in the dive industry.

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