|Before dawn on Tikehau. The distant landscape is clouds.|
|My palm-leaf table mats, woven at Fakarava|
|Fakarava's vanishing horizon|
|The full moon at dawn on Fakarava|
Fakarava is also part of a UNESCO marine biosphere reserve and its pristine waters make it one of the world's top ten dive spots. In particular, dive operators are keen to stress the fact that you can dive with sharks - lots of them! Shark fatalities are either non-existent or very rare in French Polynesia, and it's quite common for locals to feed sharks - usually small reef sharks, but I also saw large nurse sharks cruising for free fish just off a jetty, half an hour after I snorkelled there. Nobody thought to warn me because French Polynesians do not fear sharks and think nothing could be better than to dive with the lemon shark, the nurse, the tiger, the hammerhead... At Fakarava there is a 'wall of sharks' in the southern pass. There are also dozens of small black-tipped reef sharks cruising day and night around the village-style accommodation and restaurant, and it's necessary to swim with them to snorkel along the edge of the reef. These are generally harmless and I got used to swimming among them.
|Low tide on Fakarava|