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EXC In-Depth Field Notes: Fakarava, Rangiroa and Bora Bora

Our EXC In-Depth Voyage is island-hopping in the gorgeous South Pacific, and Holland America Line’s Director of Explorations Dr. Peter Carey sent some details about Fakarava, Rangiroa and Bora Bora. Enjoy this installment of Field Notes, and stay tuned for more!

Fakarava, French Polynesia
The low-lying atoll of Fakarava was our first landfall in French Polynesia and what a lovely welcome we had. Friendly faces, swaying palm trees, and crystal-clear waters brimming with healthy corals ridiculously coloured fish. The village there is tiny and most of us just soaked up the sunshine and took advantage of the small but beautiful beaches and the azure waters. A relaxing start to the final chapter in Maasdam’s first EXC In-Depth Voyage.

Coconut palms are silhouetted against the sunset sky as Maasdam leaves Fakarava. © Peter Carey

Coconut palms are silhouetted against the sunset sky as Maasdam leaves Fakarava. © Peter Carey

Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Overnight we shifted to another picturesque atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago: Rangiroa. This has a lagoon over 40 miles across, making it one of the largest coral atolls in the world. The lagoon is plenty big enough to accommodate Maasdam and the captain threaded the ship through the narrow passage as bottlenose dolphins played with our bow and the constricted tidal current that races through this gap in the island. The sunshine made for another excellent opportunity to snorkel, swim, or just casually explore the village that sits on the narrow strip of land between a turquoise lagoon and a navy blue ocean.

Maasdam threads the narrow gap in the islands as it enters Rangiroa lagoon. Cavorting dolphins are not visible from this angle but were riding our bow wave. © Peter Carey

Maasdam threads the narrow gap in the islands as it enters Rangiroa lagoon. Cavorting dolphins are not visible from this angle but were riding our bow wave. © Peter Carey

Bora Bora, French Polynesia
From the flat coral atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago to the volcanic peaks of the Society Islands, we’re still in French Polynesia but oh how the landscape has changed. This morning Maasdam entered the lagoon of perhaps the most iconic island in French Polynesia – Bora Bora. The centre of the island is spike of rock with a verdant cloak of tropical lushness, surrounded by water of varying blues, from cerulean to turquoise to almost-indigo. The main village of Vaitape is much more developed than those on our previous stops and so the shops, cafes, and restaurants got a real workout during our full-day visit here.

The dramatic cliffs of Bora Bora rise vertically behind Vaitape village. © Peter Carey

The dramatic cliffs of Bora Bora rise vertically behind Vaitape village. © Peter Carey

Maasdam continues on an island adventure throughout the South Pacific for the next several weeks before heading to New Zealand and Australia, so keep a lookout on the blog for more gorgeous photos and exciting Field Notes from the ports of call.

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