Satellite photograph of Tikehau Atoll.
|Area||461 km2 (178 sq mi) (lagoon)
20 km² (above water)
|Length||27 km (16.8 mi)|
|Width||19 km (11.8 mi)|
|Highest elevation||8 m (26 ft)|
|Overseas collectivity||French Polynesia|
|Population||529 (as of 2012)|
Tikehau (meaning Peaceful Landing in Tuamotuan) or Porutu-kai is a coral atoll in the Palliser Islands group, part of the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. It is included in the commune of Rangiroa.
Tikehau is located 340 km northeast of Tahiti in the Tuamotu Islands. The nearest atoll, Rangiroa, lies only 12 km to the east. Mataiva, the westernmost atoll of the same group, is located 35 km to the west.
The atoll's oval-shaped lagoon is 27 km long and 19 km wide with a lagoon area of about 461 km2. The atoll is made up of two major islands and numerous islets. The Northeastern quarter of the atoll is a single, mostly uninhabited island. The whole atoll is surrounded by an almost continuous coral reef. There is a single pass deep and wide enough for navigation in and out of the lagoon: Tuheiava Pass is located on the Western shore. The islands and islets are covered with coconut palms. The main village is called Tuherahera.
The first recorded European to arrive to Tikehau was by the Russian mariner Otto von Kotzebue. He called this atoll Krusenstern Island, after Russian explorer Adam Johann von Krusenstern; this name was later given other islands as well. The Wilkes Expedition passed by this atoll on 9 September 1839.
On a visit in 1987 Jacques Cousteau's research group made a study of Tikehau's lagoon and they discovered that it contains a greater variety of fish species than any other place in French Polynesia.
Today, Tikehau is a touristic destination popular for its pink sand beaches and its exceptional underwater fauna.
Tikehau Airport, located on the Southern tip of the atoll, was inaugurated in 1977. There are daily flights to and from Tahiti and other atolls of the Tuamotus.
Additional photographs and maps
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tikehau.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Tikehau.|
- Article from Hydrobiologia
- Atoll names
- Wilkes Expedition
- Historical data
- Birds in Tikehau
- Tikehau Atoll FP (EVS Islands)
- Shuttle Image ISS008-E-17132 (Astronaut Photography)
- Tikehau Atoll FP (Oceandots.com) at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010)
- Tuamotu Atolls List (Pacific Image)
- High-resolution picture from the Earth Observatory