12 March, 2024

Uninhabited Tahnea Atoll...

Tahanea is an uninhabited atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia, sizing up at 48 x 15km. The southern reef fringing the atoll is wider than the northern one, but the largest islands are on the narrower northern rim. Tahanea has a wide and deep lagoon with a surface of 545km2 with three navigable, gates into the lagoon. This is a rare place - Tahanea receives almost no visitors except occasionally by islanders from neighboring atolls. No-one else was in sight, although we did see a rusty steel shelter that some visitor must have built.

The NatGeo Orion parked well offshore, a Zodiac full of expeditioners arrives for a wet landing on a rocky beach, reef shoes most definitely required. [5364]

A narrow spit between the ocean and the beach on Tahanea has a rough, broken coral walking surface. No place for bare feet. [5365]

Uninhabited maybe, but someone has provided an improved amenity. [5370]

White tern over Tahanea. [5388]

Brown noddy looks intent on Tahanea. [5428]

We spent a whole day at Tahanea, at an idyllic swimming/snorkelling spot in the morning where there was some good birdwatching too, and doing a platform snorkel well offshore in the afternoon. There was pretty but unspectacular coral, and the water was shallow despite being well away from land, and very clear.

Platform snorkel base, with two additional Zodiacs guarding us all. [5442]

Shooting from below, coral is reflected in the surface of the water. [0832]

Feet careful not to step on the colorful corals in the Tahanea atoll. [0852]

Small-sized giant clams burrow their way into dead coral by secreting hydrochloric acid to dissolve it and create a home. [0856]

Uninhabited, Tahanea is a large and deep atoll. Our photographs were concentrated as shown.

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