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The Expedition to Niue Sets Sail

  Months of planning are behind us and we have swapped hundreds of emails, spreadsheets, contracts, purchasing, shipping logistics, phone calls across the world’s time zones and lists of notes for this beautiful living thing that is our expedition. We are in love with Niue: It’s an outstandingly beautiful island. The craggy coral coastline is...

 

Beautiful coral and algal growth along the unique uplifted coral shoreline of Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)
Beautiful coral and algal growth abound on the unique uplifted coral shoreline of Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

Months of planning are behind us and we have swapped hundreds of emails, spreadsheets, contracts, purchasing, shipping logistics, phone calls across the world’s time zones and lists of notes for this beautiful living thing that is our expedition.

We are in love with Niue: It’s an outstandingly beautiful island. The craggy coral coastline is a powerful reminder of the energy and productivity of the world’s oceans, the waters must be some of the clearest we have ever seen, and we especially love the obvious, strong connection the Niuean people have with the sea.

Matapa Chasm carves a picturesque path on Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

The community have been caring for their ocean through generations—these traditions and careful management practices mean that these waters are in excellent condition.

In addition to understanding their own waters so well, Niue’s people are a key partner in world ocean management leadership issues helping to underscore their well-informed global ocean perspective. They certainly understand the ocean!

Luxuriant coral growth in the protected back reef of Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)
Luxuriant coral growth flourishes in the protected back reef of Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

As Niue looks to the future of its seas, more information is needed from hard-to-reach areas and that’s where we fit in. We are working alongside the Niue government to complete comprehensive marine science surveys around all of Niue (with a particular focus on the tricky windward side). Then we will head 120 nautical miles to the southeast to the tiny Beveridge Reef.

It’s a legendary place: It’s only visible at low tide, hard to find, rough seas outside the reef—flat calm inside (we hope!), very rarely visited, hardly ever dived, stories of divers being chased out of the water by sharks, and most importantly, the certain promise of new discoveries.

The beautiful colors of coralline algae and corals in the back reef of Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)
The sea is full of the beautiful colors of coralline algae and corals in the back reef of Niue island. (Photo by Manu San Félix)

We are fortunate to have four excellent Niuean scientists on the team and as we depart for sea on this first day of diving we feel that we are taking the wonderful ocean spirit of all Niuean people with us.

Protected from the worst wave conditions, a healthy colony of Acropora digitifera thrives in the back reef or Niue. (Photo by Jon Betz)
Protected from the worst wave conditions, a healthy colony of Acropora digitifera thrives in the back reef of Niue. (Photo by Jon Betz)

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Meet the Author

Paul Rose
Paul Rose is an ardent explorer, television presenter, journalist, author, and Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society, and an Expedition Leader on the Pristine Seas team.