Tangaroa has reached the Expedition?s final destination!

14.08.2006 @ 14:04
Arriving the Society Islands, Tangaroa was met by a spectacular welcome ceremony at the old temple ruins Marae Taputapuatea at the island Raiatea, the most important traditional temple in Polynesia. Regarded as French Polynesia’s most sacred isle, Raiatea is the old cultural centre of the Polynesian islands.  

After a troublesome night, the Tangaroa crew was picked up at the raft by outrigger canoes and brought ashore as if they were kings! More than 1000 people participated in the traditional reception, starting with a welcome speech, flower gifts, religious blessings and stone offering on the beach. Then the crew took part in a ceremony at the old sacrificial grounds before entering the main temple ground where the official part of the ceremony took place. Here the crew was brought gifts, and they were celebrated with great speeches. 

 In Torgeir’s own words: ”People awaited us like they did in ancient times when powerful chiefs arrived in their double canoes from other islands. The ceremony is meant to remind the population of times long gone, when guests brought stones to the great sacrificial grounds of Taputapuatea. We brought stones from Peru. Once this island was the centre of Polynesia, and according to local oral history, all the other islands were populated from here.  

Now we are done with sailing and experimentation. The expedition is a success; we are very pleased with the results and the samples collected. We have sailed more than 4500 nautical miles, which equals 1/5 of the distance around Equator. Now we are heading for our final destination – Tahiti – by the means of tugboat. Nobody will take the chance of arriving too late for the last, but not least, ceremony: The one in Tahiti!”

Tangaroa landing in Papeete on Tahiti!
At four pm Sunday 30th of July 2006, Tangaroa arrived at the harbour of Papeete, 24 hours after the estimated time of arrival. At the last stretch the raft was in for a rough treatment, but it seems no serious damage has been done to the raft or the equipment.

About 1000 people greeted the bearded, suntanned and soaking wet seamen at the harbour of Papeete. The crew was visibly touched and overwhelmed by the warm welcome and the great reception, and they all agreed the expedition had come to a most successful end. 93 days after leaving Callao in Peru they were able to step ashore in Tahiti – the final destination of the expedition!

According to the programme the reception should have taken place on Saturday afternoon, but due to high waves, the tug boat could not get them in Raiatea in time. Raiatea is situated west of Tahiti, and towing would be necessary to go against the winds and currents on their way back.The night of towing became a tough one both for the raft and the crew,  with hardly no sleep at all, but this was quickly forgotten when Tangaroa proudly entered the harbour of Papeete, escorted by two tug boats and sailors in outrigger canoes.

The expedition members were celebrated like great heroes! Drummers created an exciting atmosphere from first sight of the raft on the horizon, and an artificial beach had been made in the harbour to create an authentic feeling of ancient times. When entering the beach, the crew was once again given a traditional welcome speech and flowers around their neck, before being carried one by one to the ceremony area and lead through colourful dancing groups on to the stage. The reception area was beautifully decorated with flowers and traditional handcraft made of palm leaves.  

Mona Sæverud Higraff, wife of expedition leader Torgeir, and Olav’s parents, Grethe & Thor Heyerdahl Jr, were among the waiting crowd in addition to Norwegian friends and some representatives of French / Polynesian authorities.The plane with the President Oscar Temaru was delayed, so all he had time for when he finally arrived was to congratulate the Tangaroa crew. Luckily they got to meet him again two days later. In the name of the President, the Minister of Cultural Exchange gave the welcome speech. The ceremony included traditional singing and dancing, a religious ceremony and several speeches from different officials, all tied nicely together by Mr. Georges Estall, Mayor of Raroia and President of the Raroia Association.

Raroia Association has been the coordinator of all three receptions in French Polynesia, and outstanding hosts for the expedition members during their stay.  The main aim of the organisation is to create a new Kon-Tiki museum and a hotel in Raroia, the atoll in the Tuamoto Group where Kon-Tiki shipwrecked in 1947! 

Postet av: henrietta creighton

my heart is jumping=== to get these details of tangaroa.now i can start pestering for details on the transport of her to larvik. how when where'i care!!love to all, great grandma etta

25.08.2006 @ 14:31
Postet av: Daniel

I followed the journey every single day. I admire what you guys have done. Torgeir, I`m your number one fan. Thanks for all of this.

24.09.2006 @ 04:32

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