June 8 marks World Oceans Day, with a focus on protection, revitalisation and respect for our seas, and the millions of organisms that call them home. And it's not only fish and crustacea in the spotlight, it's the underwater plant life, too.
In French Polynesia, dedicated teams are working to restore the extensive coral reefs around the 118-strong island group, and there is a range of environmentally responsible tours for visitors who want to take a look for themselves.
On the island of Moorea, The Coral Gardeners have a mission to plant one million baby corals before 2025. Using innovative tech, specialist nurseries and careful monitoring systems, the team has identified the hardiest coral species to most effectively revitalise ailing reefs. Ocean-lovers can help by adopting (in digital form) their very own coral. coralgardeners.org.
If you're keen to take to the water in Tahiti, there are plenty of incredible sites to explore. 'The Aquarium' is a large sandy basin teeming with coral, angelfish, lionfish and reef curiosities, all within easy reach for beginner scuba divers. More advanced divers should check out The Cargo Ship and Catalina, which includes an eerie shipwreck and a plane wreck, along with plentiful anemones and large schools of fish.
For an extensive guided expedition with an eco-friendly focus, check out Nani Travel. Their eight-day tours take in some of the best spots for seeing marine critters, as well as coral-planting sessions and the opportunity to help local researchers monitor marine populations.
If it's larger underwater creatures you're looking for, Moorea Ocean Adventures offers small group tours guided by marine biologists, where visitors can swim responsibly with whales, dolphins, sharks and stingrays. Moorea Māori Tours also has a range of authentic experiences on offer for visitors, including snorkelling and fishing sessions, plus cooking lessons with local experts to prepare your (sustainably-caught) catch.
CHECKLIST: BORA BORA
Travellers to French Polynesia must present an International Travel Vaccination Certificate. Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken less than 72 hours prior to departure or a negative antigen test taken less than 48 hours prior to departure.
For more, see tahititourisme.nz