This week’s photograph is of the Society Islands, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean that are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is thought to have been named by Captain James Cook supposedly in honour of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands. However, Cook himself stated in his journal that he called the islands Society “as they lay contiguous to one another”. This aerial photo is of Bora Bora, which is located about 140 miles north-west of Papeete and is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the centre of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, while lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus and palm-covered motu circle the lagoon. Seen from the air as in this photo Bora Bora has been compared to “a tiny emerald in a setting of turquoise encircled by a sheltering necklace of sparkling pearls”.
Thank you to Paul Gauguin Cruises for permission to re-produce the image.