We then took a small jet with Tetiaroa Airlines to the field station in Tetiaroa. Tetiaroa is a tourist destination for the wealthy and there is an exclusive private resort on one of the Tetiaroa islands or “Motus.

Fun fact: President Obama actually stayed at the resort in Tetiaroa right after his presidency because it promises isolation in paradise! During the flight, I was subjected to the aerial view of the spectacular blues of the beautiful Tetiaroa lagoon which is said to have 37 different shades of blue. It was unlike anything I had seen in my entire life, and I admired the beautiful coral reef that surrounded the atoll. As soon as we landed, we were greeted warmly by the hotel staff with a garland and some music... I think they mistook us for guests at the hotel since that was the only time, we were greeted in such an extravagant manner.

Typically, staff members and scientists arrive at Tetiaroa on a 2-hour ferry from Tahiti. We were scientists working with the non-profit, Tetiaroa Society, which supports scientific research and conducts educational tours for hotel guests and students on the wildlife of the atoll. The first things I noticed when we landed were the several coconut trees and the expansive beautiful blue lagoon with specks of coral. We were driven to the eco station on a golf cart by a ranger who works for the Tetiaroa Society. The eco station would be my home for the entirety of my time at Tetiaroa. Unfortunately, only guests at the hotel, hotel and Tetiaroa Society staff, and scientists are allowed to visit this atoll. It is not open to the public since the atoll belongs to the late American actor Marlon Brando, and his family owns it now.