Well, we woke up this morning to find that someone has stolen Andy’s (smelly and disgusting) flip-flops right out of the cockpit.Â While this saves us the trouble of eventually taking them to a trash can, I can’t say I’m thrilled with the idea of someone coming on to my boat for a look-see.Â Â
Today, we rented a car for a paltry 9500 French Polynesian Francs, or 2.3 watermelons, which is now our new conversion standard.Â Even with the Maramu’u still blasting and rainy and cloudy conditions, we had a nice day driving the 61 miles on the island’s perimeter road.Â The lagoon is particularly beautiful with a million different stratifications of blues and greens outlined by breaking waves against the surrounding reef, and the dark blue of the deep Pacific Ocean right outside the reef.Â It’s very striking.
Of course, the big attraction is the Marae Taputapuatea which is a huge marae complex on the southeastern coast of Raiatea at the town called Opoa.Â As I mentioned earlier, Raiatea is considered the religious and spiritual center of all of Polynesia because of the importance of this marae.Â Taputapuatea is the second most significant archaeology behind Easter Island, although we did visit a marae complete with huge intact tikis in Hiva Oa which also claims that title.Â
Established some time around 1000 AD, Taputapuatea was the site of many religious and civic events including a truce known as Faatau Aroha.Â This long-lasting truce created two alliances known as Aotea (East) and Aouri (West), and lent to cooperative exploration, discovery, and colonization of other islands including Hawaii.Â Taputapuatea was considered so sacred that all other maraes, from Hawaii to the Cook Islands, were required to pay homage to it.Â Archaeological links are well established.Â The Faatau Aroha truce was broken when a fight broke out and the leaders of the respective alliances were killed.
Centuries later, the chiefs from the Tamatoas family added many structures to the marae in honor of Oro, the god of war and fertility.Â Vying for power, the Tamatoas strongly championed the Oro legends.Â After 200 years, Oro ascended as the most important god in the area carrying the Tamatoas family along to power.Â The powerful Tamatoas would have conquered all of Polynesia, but the first Christian missionaries arrived in 1797.Â The missionaries gained the trust of King Pomare I of Tahiti, converted him to Christianity, and successfully worked to keep him in power.Â With that alliance, the Tamatoas lost the power struggle and their public confidence eroded.Â Marae Taputapuatea was left to ruin, but at least it was not all out destroyed by the missionaries like so much of the ancient structures in Polynesia.
Marae Taputapuatea was restored during the 1960′s, and human remains were found in several structures.