Austral Islands: Rurutu – Western Beaches
Rurutu is a very interesting island in the Australs archipelago, geologically. In fact, it’s totally unique for the entire French Polynesia. The island was formed many millions ago over a volcanic hotspot, just like many nearby islands and just like Hawaii chain. But, about one million years ago it passed over another hotspot and the entire island got uplifted so that all the coral reef was turned up and became a mount of limestone cliffs and caves. There are not many beaches here and they are rocky and dotted with giant boulders and sea caves and grottos. Furthermore, unlike many other Polynesian islands, the fringing reef here is very small, only about 20m/60ft and then the drop is down to 700m/2000ft. This makes Rurutu one of the prime whale watching spots in the world, since you can watch whales just from your chair on the beach (the season is in July-Sep however). The beaches on the western side of the island are very pretty, not really swimmable, but full of rock structures and absolutely desolate, with many small pools filled with sea life inside.