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From the Field
Expedition: Dangerous Archipelago
Kayaking French Polynesia's Tuamotu Islands

Explorer Jon Bowermaster sends dispatches from the deep South (Pacific).

Dispatch 5: Anaa and Faaite

October 8, 2002

[Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit field dispatches.]

We left Papeete, Tahiti on a cargo boat a couple nights ago and we met up with Alex [Nicks] and [photographer] Pete [McBride] here in Faaite, a tiny little atoll about 300 miles (483 kilometers) east. Our kayaks are strapped to the roof.

We are going to use this ferry, this cargo boat, to visit the far, far eastern edge as a way to get us from atoll to atoll through the rest of this trip which will take us to the least seldom seen and least populated atolls out here. As the boat captain said this morning, le plus sauvage, the most wild of the islands, are out this direction.

This morning we stopped in Anaa and the most phenomenal thing we saw there was the fact that the lagoon is filling in and getting more and more shallow which reflects green into the clouds as they come across the lagoon. The sailors all know when they are approaching Anaa because the clouds above it are green.

Now itís sunset in Faaite and Iím watching the little balinieses, the little whale boats, bring in supplies off the cargo boat. Faaite gets visited once a month by cargo boat—so this is a big deal. The entire 200 person population is out on the docks. And the boats are bringing them everything from food to gasoline and they are handing it out individually from family to family as they ordered it.

And just beyond that weíve got surfers. Thereís a really nice left break out here which takes people away from the coral, which I understand is pretty shallow, close to the surface.

So, we are watching the sun go down, watching surfers, watching the scene on the dock and by nightfall, we will be paddling back to the cargo boat and continuing east. And we will check in from further out there.

—Jon Bowermaster

Next: Dispatch 6: At the Eastern Edge >>

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Look for Jon Bowermaster's feature article on kayaking the Dangerous Archipelago in a future issue of Adventure. Subscribe Now and Save 62 percent off the cover price >>

Funding for this expedition was provided by the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council. For more information on the Council, its projects, and grants, e-mail ecouncil@ngs.org.

Top


Photograph courtesy Jon Bowermaster; Map by NG Maps
 
 
  Introduction
  The Team
  Photo Gallery
  Dispatch 1
  Dispatch 2
  Dispatch 3
  Dispatch 4
  • Dispatch 5
  Dispatch 6
  Dispatch 7
  Dispatch 8
  Conclusion
 
 

Multimedia

Audio: Dispatch 5: Anaa and Faaite (1:40)
"...the lagoon is filling in and getting more and more shallow which reflects green into the clouds as they come across the lagoon. So the sailors all know when they are approaching Anaa because the clouds are green."
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Related Web Sites

Ask the Expedition Advisor
Jon Bowermaster fielded reader's questions on planning an out-there adventure.

Descending the Dragon
Hear Bowermaster's dispatches from his kayak odyssey down the Vietnam coast.

Dispatches From the Birthplace of the Winds
See photos and hear dispatches from the expedition that inspired Bowermaster's new book, Birthplace of the Winds.

Video: Bowermaster on His Aleutian Odyssey
Find out what it took to take Alaska's Islands of the Four Mountains by kayak.


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