French Polynesia Jigsaw
Travel writers can get spoiled. After a couple of days in an overwater bungalow in Moorea in French Polynesia, I’d definitely had my fill. So my sister and I ditched the honeymooners and hopped a plane filled with folks wearing fragrant floral leis and straw hats and toting empty coolers they’d later fill with fish to reach the Tuamotu Archipelago. On Fakarava, the topside views were the tropical cliche – sun-bleached sand, electric blue water, palms for skyscrapers and frangiapani-lined lanes. It was underwater where things really got interesting, particularly in the south passage of the atoll – an alleged secret surf spot of Kelly Slater and, for divers, a sharky bullseye. You slip on your mask and fins and dive down for views that are like a giant shark jigsaw puzzle. Hundreds of grey reef sharks patrol the outside of the passage in a column of dorsal fins and silvery flesh that stretches nearly from the surface to 100 feet below. Places like Palau and the Bahamas certainly have their sharks. But the toothiest place I’ve ever seen is still Tetamanu in the Tuamotus.