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Robert Wan

Tahitian Black Pearl


     Adolphe Sylvain
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Daniel PARDON, or the art of catering to one's passions

It was SCUBA diving that pushed Daniel Pardon to abandon the banks of the Saône and the Rhone. Originally a journalist in Lyon, he set out to live another life, immersed in the infinite blues of the vast Pacific.

He joined the staff of La Dépêche de Tahiti at the beginning of 1984 and became editor in chief in 1987. Parallel to his professsional activities, he began his program of SCUBA training and advanced rapidly in grade to 'first star monitor' with the CMAS (World Confederation of Subaquatic Activities). He acquired a sufficiently high level of proficiency under water to throw himself wholeheartedly into the real reason for his passion, undersea photography.
His first efforts were failures... resoundingly so, but the man was stubborn and persevering.

Also at this time, he became the permanent Reuters correspondent, thanks to increased interest in the area because of the nuclear testing at Moruroa. He is also correspondent for several other publications: Géo Mundo in Mexico, Apnéa France and Apnéa Spain, Océans, as well as Minéraux et Fossils (gemstones being another of his passions).
He is the author of three books, "Tahiti, Portraits and Dances", "Tahiti Between Sky and Sea" (a work devoted to the Polynesian eco-system) and a surprising "Fangataufa, Mururoa, Etat des Lieux". He is the first journalist to have been allowed to film the shafts of the underwater nuclear experiments in the Moruroa lagoon, and to have measured the residual radioactivity.

He divides his life among all his passions, and he has assembled for each one an extensive photo library.

- Gemstones push him, each year, to travel the length and breadth of Asia, the Americas or Australia, seeking out the sources of precious stones. He is preparing, moreover, a book entitled "Mines and Precious Stones". According to Daniel, "When it comes to colors and light, nothing surpasses a fine gem".
- SCUBA diving in the South Pacific has fulfilled his wildest dreams, in the heart of what he calls "the last ocean", where one can still discover veritable marvels. He has a weakness for the Marquesas and the Tuamotu and, in matters of encounters he is particularly attached to the large fauna and the tiniest of organisms (corals, shells, nudibranches... ). He surveys and studies with great care the phenomenon of bleaching out of the corals. In 1993, he won the first prize for underwater reporting at the International Festival at Antibes, featuring Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. He obtained the second prize in 1992 with the story of spearfishing at Easter Island. In the year 2000, a third prize was awarded for a work entitled "Twenty Environments under the Sea", an analysis of twenty tropical undersea ecosystems.
- The transition is readily found to speak of his passion for Easter Island, news of which he follows closely since 1984. When visiting the area, he spends many hours under the sea, with his friend , Michel Garcia, the director of the island dive center. He hopes, one day, to establish a site consecrated to "Rapa Nui", where he returns each year with the same excited anticipation.

- Another colorful passion, tropical flora: the fruits, flowers and plants are permanent vegetal targets that he never tires of crunching... with his cameras.
- Finally, the Indians of Central and South America are another of the Pardon passions. He has traveled the mighty Andes range from end to end and side to side, climbing the flank of Peru's Chopicalqui to an altitude of 6250 meters (in order to photograph Huascaran).
From Chile to Mexico, he feels at home and remains fascinated by the mastery with which the Indians use all the colors of the rainbow to dress themselves. The marrying of the vivid colors never reveals the slightest sign of bad taste in matters of eye-pleasing harmony, even if on occasion the combinations of hues are bold and would be considered garish in the extreme on European clothes.

To wind up this rapid scan of the centers of interest of this field journalist, Daniel Pardon is very proud that the Post and Telecommunications Office has already called on his services 27 times for postage stamp designs. At another level he has amassed to his credit over twenty magazine covers, including one for the French weekly, L'Express.
As a small boy, he derived his intellectual pleasures from the study of Latin, the natural sciences and reading. He promised himself that, one day, he would follow in the steps of the famous French comic strip journalist, Tintin.
At over 45 years of age, he often thinks to have done, if not better (he has not yet been to the moon), certainly a good deal more than he had ever dreamed. Unfortunately, life passes so quickly and he still has 1000 subjects on which to work, 1000 reports to write, 1000 adventures to live, 1000 voyages to make...
For many years, he has maintained a privileged relationship with Teva Sylvain and Pacific Promotion Tahiti SA. Among Teva's publications, Daniel Pardon has collaborated closely on the books concerning flowers and orchids, as well as the book dedicated to the colorful fish of the Polynesian lagoons and reefs. With the passage of time he has become Teva's official editor, who calls on him whenever he needs to magnify or glorify French Polynesia and its treasures through flawlessly composed text.

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