National Geographic : 1938 Sep
SEA FLOOR AQUARELLES FROM TONGAREVA, © National Geographic Society Painted by Else Bostelmann under direction Roy W. Miner DOWN, DOWN GO GOGGLED NATIVES TO GATHER PEARL SHELLS FROM THE SEA FLOOR Polynesian swimmers plunge 25 to 60 feet below the surface, pluck shells from among coral growths, and quickly rise again. Many stay under water three minutes. In deeper lagoons, to save time and strength, they descend with weights attached to cords. Objects are plainly visible, for the water is unbelievably clear. About one-fourth of the lagoon is floored with pearl shell. Paintings reproduced in this series depict the curious creatures and fantastic coral growths observed and collected by Dr. Roy Waldo Miner on the 1936 American Museum-Crocker Expedition to Tongareva, a coral atoll midway between the Tuamotu and the Phoenix Islands.