South Pacific Landmark Decoder


The power of a name is not unknown to the tourism industry. Certain names suggest landmarks and landmarks are things that tourists want to see. Simply by giving a place an exotic name you can increase the number of tourists who want to go. This applies to cruising tourists like us as well of course.

Here are three names we’ve seen a number of times and our decoding of what the names actually mean.

Bird Motu/Island/Rock – Ile Oiseaux: This will be somewhere with nesting birds and will give you a good chance to see baby birds and their parents up close. Quite often, the anchorage will reek of bird poop and be filled with the sound of screeching birds particularly at sunset and sunrise. If somewhere is called Bird Rock it will probably be a white (guana coated) rock that is picturesque… from a distance.

P1000725Blue Lagoon – This will be somewhere that is shallow enough to really showcase the natural colors of the lagoon. Often it will have a variety of shallow depths so you can see the beauty of the colors in contrast. Sometimes it will be enclosed, perhaps with a navigable entrance, or you may have to anchor outside. You can often locate it from a distance by the number of pasty fly-in tourists walking around on the beaches and the launches they came in will be moored nearby. Don’t worry if you are planning to anchor there, the tourist boats won’t stay long. There will often be somewhere else in the atoll/island just as pretty (or prettier) without a daily visit by tourist boats.

Pink Sands – Self explanatory, right? Except, sometimes the sand isn’t particularly pink (to my eye). And yep, again, sometimes there is pinker sand somewhere else in the atoll. The two pictures above are both at Fakarava but the sand was pinker at the place with no name.

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  1. "pasty fly-in tourists": I love it! :)

    1. A "pasty fly in tourist" and I were chatting in Niue and he asked how he would know who the mysterious yacht people were if he saw them in town and it dawned on me that we are the only tan whiteys (except ex-pats living here) around :)



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