After a day at sea from Rarotonga, we finally reached the island of Ra’iatea in the morning. In the distance, mountains appeared slowly amidst a curtain of clouds. After entering the pass, where a school of spinning dolphins welcomed us, National Geographic Orion anchored in the bay of Faaroa, the deepest on the island.

The highlight of the day was a visit of the Unesco World Heritage site of Taputapuātea. The cultural landscape is filled with stories of alliances, voyages, and genealogies that bind the people of Polynesia. To me, the visit to Taputapuātea is always an opportunity to show that our culture remains very much alive today: it is a site where we come back, and sometimes sail to, to honor our ancestors.

We finished the day with a stargazing session on the sun deck after dinner.