Shortly after sunrise, we entered the extensive reef system and rarely visited island group known as the Reef Islands. The bridge team showed off their navigation skills as they took us through a maze of reefs to a beautiful, sheltered spot. From here, some of us set out to explore a village while others snorkeled. We were the first “ship visitors” that the village had ever had, and the people’s enthusiasm showed as they put on an incredible welcome celebration. They showcased their musical and dancing talents, along with aspects of their daily life.

In the afternoon, we all explored the gorgeous reef of a local marine reserve. The corals were vibrant, and the fish life was great, including some large sweetlips and a huge humphead wrasse. As we left the islands during sunset, we passed an erupting volcano as it spewed steam and smoke!