The Cruise Of The Snark, By Jack London

 -   Since Raiatea is thirty
miles in circumference, and Tahaa fifteen miles, some idea may be
gained of the magnitude of - Page 190
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Since Raiatea Is Thirty Miles In Circumference, And Tahaa Fifteen Miles, Some Idea May Be Gained Of The Magnitude Of The Reef That Encloses Them.

Between them and the reef stretches from one to two miles of water, forming a beautiful lagoon.

The huge Pacific seas, extending in unbroken lines sometimes a mile or half as much again in length, hurl themselves upon the reef, overtowering and falling upon it with tremendous crashes, and yet the fragile coral structure withstands the shock and protects the land. Outside lies destruction to the mightiest ship afloat. Inside reigns the calm of untroubled water, whereon a canoe like ours can sail with no more than a couple of inches of free-board.

We flew over the water. And such water! - clear as the clearest spring-water, and crystalline in its clearness, all intershot with a maddening pageant of colours and rainbow ribbons more magnificently gorgeous than any rainbow. Jade green alternated with turquoise, peacock blue with emerald, while now the canoe skimmed over reddish purple pools, and again over pools of dazzling, shimmering white where pounded coral sand lay beneath and upon which oozed monstrous sea-slugs. One moment we were above wonder-gardens of coral, wherein coloured fishes disported, fluttering like marine butterflies; the next moment we were dashing across the dark surface of deep channels, out of which schools of flying fish lifted their silvery flight; and a third moment we were above other gardens of living coral, each more wonderful than the last.

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