How Atolls are Formed

Aerial view of Makemo. Notice the main anchorage (with several sailboat) by the pass in the distance.

The Tuamotos used to be islands with lagoons like Tahiti and Bora Bora, but after geological activity moved on, the islands’ landmass receded into the ocean. However, the coral reefs remained, since they are a living organism that continues to grow. The corals grew so much they generate strips of “land”. If corals stopped growing, all this land would also disappear under the waves. I knew coral reefs were important, but I didn’t know they created “land” for entire societies!

Want to learn more? Here is a good video of how atoll-formation works.

Atolls must be one of the most unique places on earth. Here are scenes from Makemo atoll:

Painting of the Makemo waterfront, from Leon’s house.


Kids fishing at the town pier.

Panorama of Aldebaran and Lambor-dinghy at the beach next to Leon’s house.

From L to R: Kristian, Sabrina, Leon, Soraya, Diyana, Matt, and Melanie

Shallow turquoise waters (5-10ft) near land with deeper blue waters (25-110ft) outside.

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