NASA picture of Raraka Atoll
|Area||342 km2 (132 sq mi) (lagoon)
7.2 km2 (2.8 sq mi) (above water)
|Length||27 km (16.8 mi)|
|Width||19 km (11.8 mi)|
|Overseas collectivity||French Polynesia|
The shape of Raraka Atoll is an oval 27 km long and 19 km wide. Its fringing reef has many sandbanks and small motu. This atoll has a wide lagoon with a navigable pass to the ocean.
Raraka Atoll is now uninhabited, but it is occasionally visited by islanders from neighboring atolls. There is a village called Motupapu.
The first recorded European to sight Raraka Atoll was Captain Ireland in 1831.
Raraka Atoll was visited by the historic United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. Charles Wilkes reported: "The next day they reached Raraka Atoll and were allowed ashore to explore it on that and the following day. There they met about 40 peaceful islanders, who had native-born missionary among them. Their chief was missing his left hand, it having been bitten off by a shark."
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