Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia

Photograph by Aaron Huey

Sharks prowl the waters off the Fakarava atoll—home to a laid-back Polynesian community where visitors can escape the hubbub of modern life—as the tide carries a circus of reef fish through the South Pass. Divers and snorkelers equipped at local dive shops time their swims for these tidal surges, when the lagoons are at their liveliest.

Read “In Search of the Black Pearl” in the October 2010 issue of National Geographic Traveler.