A to Z Abroad: Underwater in Polynesia

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French Polynesia is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical landscape, but there is also a piece of paradise waiting beneath the clear waters of the islands.

When I put on my snorkel gear, I had no idea I was about to enter an entirely different world filled with coral forests and white sand.

Coral. Watch out, it bites!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2001

Of course, I learned the hard way that coral “bites.” For about five years, I had a scar on my foot to remind me to watch where I’m going. One small touch is enough to open up quite a gash!

Aside from coral, there is an abundance of wildlife lurking in the lagoons. Fish of all colors, shapes, and sizes happily swim by and give a great show!

A school fish swim a maze of coral
Photo by: c.b.w. 2001

One fish, two fish, yellow fish, zebra fish . . .
Photo by: c.b.w. 2001

Among the fish are stingrays and sharks. Yes, I really did swim alongside sharks! They are such graceful creatures and so misunderstood. They deserve our respect rather than our fear.

Swimming with the rays!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2001

The sharks are here, but never fear!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2001

While the vivid color of blue and the wonder of wildlife make the journey underwater worthwhile, my favorite part of this adventure was the experience of absolute silence. The waters of the lagoon are often still and it’s easy to find a spot away from other divers, leaving nothing but the sound of stillness.

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Part of the A to Z Challenge!

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c.b.w. 2013

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35 thoughts on “A to Z Abroad: Underwater in Polynesia

  1. This is such a beautiful adventure you describe. I think i want to do this sometime, but i am positive I could not get my wife to indulge. She fears the water and cannot swim.

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  2. Gorgeous! One of my bucket list items is to get my diving certification and go somewhere exotic to experience this. If nothing else, the big aquarium at the Mall of America has opportunities to dive in their shark tank, which I think sounds awesome! Someday…

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  3. I have an absolute terror of sharks, real visceral panic, so I wish them well but am glad I’m well inland. On the other hand, crystal clear water beautiful fish – your photos are gorgeous.

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  4. Sherrey Meyer

    C.B., I love underwater life, but am not a swimmer so therefore not a snorkeler. However, I do love the excellent photos you’ve shared here and I love watching anything I can regarding the underwater world. We’re fortunate here in OR to have a good coastal aquarium which affords the opportunity to walk underground between two large tanks filled with amazing creatures. It’s almost like being there. Great post — it’s been a great month sharing with you.

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