Beveridge Reef: From Shallow Seas to Darker Depths

Thriving Reef
The thriving reef inside the Beveridge Reef lagoon (Photo by Manu San Felix)

This is idyllic: We are anchored in flat, calm, shallow, turquoise water.

Grey reef sharks chasing black trevally surround us and the water is so clear that we are mesmerized by shark shadows on the white sand. And yet we are far out in the South Pacific—130 miles (209 km) from Niue, 600 miles (966 km) from the Cook Islands, 400 miles (644 km) from American Samoa. Which means that we’re bang on target for the endless southeast trade winds and their huge heaving seas.

All around us we can see big waves breaking, but here inside Beveridge Reef, which is an atoll (a narrow ring of coral representing the culmination of millions of years of coral reef development) we don’t feel a thing. This is a beautiful, powerful and surprising place: The reef inside the lagoon is a thriving and busy shallow aquarium with grey reef sharks, huge 80-pound (36-kilogram) groupers, moray eels, wrasse, puffer fish, and glorious colorful corals in pristine condition. 

If you look closely, you can see the vessel that the team is on anchored in the center of the lagoon at Beveridge Reef. (Photo by Jon Betz)
If you look closely, you can see the vessel that the team is on anchored in the center of the lagoon at Beveridge Reef. (Photo by Jon Betz)

We share our dives on the outer reef with snappers, groupers, jacks, wrasse, moray eels, octopus, and as we cruise over the vast coral gardens we are in company with grey reef sharks and the sound of humpback whales on every single dive. These are great dives but of course we also need to know what lies in the deeper waters and for that we use our drop cameras.

A drop camera image from the first sightings of Galapagos sharks at Beveridge Reef (Photo by Alan Turchik)

So little is known about our deep ocean waters that on nearly all of our drop camera deployments we find something unexpected. Today, true to form, we were delighted to be the first to find Galapagos sharks living here down at 1,500 feet (457 meters).

We were even more surprised, but not so delighted, to find our drone on the bottom too!

Picture of a Galapagos Shark
A Galapagos shark cruising the cold, deep waters around Beveridge Reef. (Photo by Alan Turchik)
Drone Down
An unwelcome and thankfully, rare sight—our drone on the bottom of the sea! (Photo by Manu San Felix)

More From the Niue Expedition

The Expedition to Niue Sets Sail

Colorful Close-Ups From a Remote Coral Reef

Life Aboard With Pristine Seas

Sharks and Whale Song in the South Pacific



Meet the Author
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.