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These islands are the most eastern settlement areas of French Polynesia, located 1,700 km east of Tahiti. In fact, it is the Temoe Atoll, attached administratively to the Gambier Islands (in the town of Gambier), and located 50 km to the southeast, which is really the most eastern island of French Polynesia. More than 500 km east of the Gambier Islands lies the island of Pitcairn, famous for having sheltered the mutinees of the Bounty at the end of the 18th century.
The complex consists of fourteen high islands, four of which are very small, as well as several coral islands (or motus) anchored on the reef which encircles a deep lagoon in which the high islands are located. These islands constitute the last stage before the formation of a complete atoll: indeed, unlike the other Tuamotu atolls, the volcanism from which they are derived is more recent and the collapse of the volcanic massif from which they are derived by its weight on the ocean floor is not yet complete. However, the coral reef fringe is almost complete and testifies to the imposing size that the former volcano may have had.
The largest island, and the only one permanently inhabited with the exception of some isolated fireplaces, is Mangareva with Rikitea as capital. The three other large islands are Aukena, Akamaru and Taravai. These islands are part of the Gambier commune, of which the island of Mangareva is the capital. An aerodrome exists on the motu Totegegie. Mangarevian and French are the languages of use.
To our knowledge there is no commercial diving center in the Gambier archipelago today.