Explore lost civilizations amid paradisiacal, seldom-seen isles
Sailing in the wake of early Polynesian navigators, this Tahiti expedition strikes to the farthest reaches of Oceania. From remote and enigmatic Easter Island to the historically significant Pitcairn Islands through the “low islands” of the Tuamotu Archipelago to Tahiti, you’ll visit islands that are virtually inaccessible and untouched. The voyage begins in one of the most isolated landfalls of Polynesia: Easter Island. See the legendary moai statues up close and hear the leading theories on what happened to the people who created them from top experts. Walk the length of untouched tropical beaches, meet the descendants of H.M.S. Bounty mutineers, and drift dive or snorkel through an atoll pass.
Dive or snorkel the stunning reefs of Fakarava, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the Pitcairn Islands, identified as one of most unspoiled reef systems in the world by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala
Trace the legend of the ill-fated H.M.S. Bounty from Tahiti to Pitcairn Island, where descendants of its mutineers still live today
Explore the unusual geology and wildlife of Henderson Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and look for endemic bird species
Delve into the intriguing lost culture of Easter Island and examine ancient burial sites and towering moai with an archaeologist
Venture to far-flung coral and white sand fringed atolls to discover reefs teeming with colorful sealife and meet people of paradise. This Tahiti to Easter Island expedition seeks to reveal as many wonders as possible during your weeks with us. Our hallmark is flexibility—allowing us to take advantage of events, like wildlife sightings, as they occur to give you the richest, most dimensional experience. Here is a representation of the activities you’ll engage in as you travel to Tahiti.
Book two or more South Pacific voyages aboard National Geographic Orion and take 10% off each voyage. Savings is applicable to back-to-back or non-consecutive voyages. *This savings is available on voyage fare only, and is not valid on airfares or extensions.
FREE BAR TAB AND CREW TIPS INCLUDED
We will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Resolution,National Geographic Endurance, National Geographic Explorer, and National Geographic Orion voyages.
$1,500 CREDIT ON SOUTH PACIFIC VOYAGES
Book a South Pacific voyage aboard National Geographic Orion and receive a one-time special saving offer of $1,500 towards the cost of your voyage. Book by May 31, 2021. *Savings applied prior to any other discounts/offers.
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Another spectacular day in the Pacific on board
National Geographic Orion
, and one which was the perfect culmination point of an incredible trip. There was little time to reminisce over the previous 16 days with another packed itinerary ahead of us. The majority of our guests were treated to views of three endemic species of birds, a dip in a torchlit grotto, followed by mind-blowing views of several sperm whale pods—just another ordinary day in paradise!
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.
This voyage had some of the best offerings that travelers and wildlife seekers could hope for: superb Pacific weather, warm and gorgeous waters, along with company equally as charming. Our visit to Tahanea was no exception to any of these. Here are five photographs to give a viewing sense of the local marine life we had the good fortune of encountering.
When one imagines a true Lindblad Expeditions experience, what often comes to mind is the exploration of the most remote, untouched corners of the natural world. Sometimes the experiences that are the most rewarding and interesting are those exploring places not just pristine in nature but also enmeshed within culture.
Today we had the very special privilege of visiting the remote atoll of Marokau. With the shallow waters of the inner lagoon comprising more than 90 percent of its area, the less than 6 square miles of land here supports a tiny community of about 40 islanders.
Stopping here last year while traveling in the opposite direction, we learned that we were the first travelers ever to have visited Marokau. We arrived and they welcomed us ashore, greeting us with wonderful hospitality that included fresh coconuts and local music. Wandering through palm trees across the village toward the inner lagoon provided photo opportunities of the shallow waters whose turquoise colors are not easy to depict through words.
We were incredibly excited to hear that donations made in thanks for welcoming us had been used for filter systems to provide clean drinking water for the children on the island – something we too easily take for granted in the developed world.
After a wonderful morning ashore, we enjoyed lunch and a presentation by Captain Tim Cashman before heading out around the reef’s point, to explore the Marokau waters. Expedition staff team set up the snorkel platform and glass bottom Zodiac. Guests wasted little time suiting up to snorkel, while our dive team and undersea specialist descended onto the reefs to scuba dive.
This atoll has experienced several tropical storms and cyclones over the years, a past made evident from the unique topography along the reef, with canyons, shelves and gullies, and patches of both damaged and healthy coral. In addition to the usual tropical reef fish suspects, divers, snorkelers, and glass-bottom Zodiac cruisers enjoyed the company of several different elasmobranch species encounters, including white-tip, black-tip, and grey reef sharks, and a surprise appearance of spotted eagle rays.
A squall of heavy tropical rain passed through, rendering those in the water warmer than those above, and we enjoyed a dramatic display of clouds and a peek of a rainbow as we sailed off into the sunset, further west into the Tuamotus.
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.