The rarely visited atoll of Niau was our destination for the day. Windy conditions made for a slight change of plans, but it certainly did not stop us. An alternate landing was found, and soon enough we boarded Best Available Transport to enjoy the island. After a warm welcome in the village, we divided up for a few different excursions around the island. We focused on different aspects of island life before returning to the center of town for some incredible food and cold coconuts.

After lunch, we enjoyed the crystal-clear waters of the reef on the leeward side of Niau. The coral was super healthy with many interesting growth forms. We spotted a great diversity of colorful fish. Some of my favorites included flame angels, white-spotted surgeonfish, and achilles tangs. A few sharks cruised by, and we even observed an eagle ray or two. A gorgeous sunset signaled that it was time to get out of the water and set sail towards Makatea.

Photo caption and photographer: Atoll fruit dove, a beautiful bird endemic to the Tuamotus. Photo by Mike Greenfelder