Fakarava Atlas Projects
When one sails into the huge lagoon of Fakarava, there is a feeling of having reached a remote and distant location, but the atoll has been connected to the outside world for a millennia. It was here that the Pomare clan originated, who went on to rule Tahiti and form the first alliances with European explorers and missionaries.
Robert Louis Stevenson visited in 1888 and described it as a “narrow causeway … lying coiled like a serpent, tail to mouth, in the outrageous ocean.” From “the shady, habitable shores of the lagoon to the blinding desert and uproarious breakers of the opposite beach” was not much farther than the distance across the deck of his schooner, and we can measure it today in comparison to the dimensions of the Robert C. Seamans. Fakarava is home to a UNESCO biosphere reserve—recognition of the rich and varied ecosystem of the coral reef that defines the atoll.