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Jon Bowermaster
Explorer Jon Bowermaster


Image: arial view of an atoll

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

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

Magellan knew them as the Dangerous Archipelago, a chain laced with pristine, ship-eating reefs. Today called Tuamotu—Tahitian for "distant islands"—this 78-island stretch of French Polynesia lies halfway between Australia and South America.

For two months this fall, explorer Jon Bowermaster is leading a team through this barely populated 900-mile-long (1,450-kilometer-long) archipelago. Navigating by sun and stars, the team will lead what he calls a "Robinson Crusoe existence," including spearing and hooking their dinners; the reefs here pulse with a virtual rainbow of fish and sharks some 400 species strong.

Along the way, they'll shoot through sometimes storm-tossed waters, kayak amid migrating whales, and make contact with some of the world's most isolated cultures.

Bookmark this page and be here for the adventure.

—Ted Chamberlain

Click map to enlarge

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.


Bowermaster portrait by Barry Tessman; photograph by Jodi Cobb; 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

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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