French Polynesia consists of 118 islands scattered over a surface area as big as Europe. Almost all the islands have a surrounding coral reef which are interrupted by reef passes that have been carved out by freshwater rivers that flow into the lagoon. The Polynesian people arrived at theses shores before B.C.E. and after 500 B.C.E., most likely coming from Southeast Asia, and primarily from Taiwan. They traveled across the oceans in big double-hulled canoes that were filled with animals and plants populating the Pacific islands over time. They established a community with their places of worship (‚Marae’), and every day life and culture was filled with various activities such as offerings to the gods, singing and initiation ceremonies. The arrival of British navigator Samuel Wallis to Tahiti in 1767 marked the beginning of colonization. Following the European „discovery“ of French Polynesia it became a stopover for navigators of various origins, and issues of political and economic confrontations. The process casino online of rapid evangelization and cultural integration reached its peak with the institution of the Pomare Code in 1819, which was a mix of British law and Christian principles, outlawing traditional Polynesian customs such as dancing, tattoos, gods and music. In 1842, Tahiti and her islands became French Colonies. As a reflection of the various waves of migration and colonization, the Polynesian population as well as its reemerging traditions and culture remain a very mixed and diverse one to this day.
As I discovered the touristic sites and majestic scenery of Tahiti in the past two days, it became obvious that the history and settlement of French Polynesia are inevitably associated with the names of popular navigators such as Wallis, Bougainville and Cook. It strikes me that today as well, I am surrounded by sailors and explorers of the modern world who – as part of a 2 year global sailing trip featured by the World Cruising Club ARC – seek to explore the islands once more, following a very own personal endevaour and sharing a passion for sailing and navigation in all its forms. I consider myself unbelievably lucky to be able to join one of the 39 boats, the POLARIS, and to join Micha and his personal friends for a part of this adventure discovering the beautiful islands of Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Tahaa, Huahine in the coming days. Be aware, stunning pictures are to come soon….