Dock and Palm Trees, Tahiti

Photograph by Jodi Cobb

A dock juts out to a small palm island, surrounded by the jewel-blue waters of Tahiti. Tahiti is just one of 118 islands and atolls that make up French Polynesia, a semi-autonomous territory of France. With its claim here and on other Pacific territories, France is the second largest presence (after the United States) in the Pacific.

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Charting a New Course—French Polynesia," June 1997, National Geographic magazine)