Moana Voyages propose you to discover a very important place in French Polynesia’s history that symbolize Europe’s and Polynesia’s meeting, not to be missed during a Tahiti trip. It is one of the “most to see” place here, for sure I’m talking about the “Venus Point” and his lighthouse. Surrounded by a sublime black sand beach, it’s the northernmost place in Tahiti. Venus Point owes her name to Captain James Cook who came there for watching Venus’ crossing in front of the sun in 1769.
A full of history prints place
Before accosting in Matavai’s Bay, where Venus Point is, the Dolphin had go along Tahiti’s coasts and had met lots of deep bays, that are all attractive as the others.
Why did he choose Matavai’s Bay?
During his journey around Tahiti, Captain Samuel Wallis had tried to accost in a lot of bays of Tahiti: First on the South of the island in Mataiea, Papeari and Taravao and then on the East coast in Mahaena.
He does not accost because of a hundred outrigger canoes leaving from the shore for coming and meet the unknown boat. Wallis Captain rather not take risks and give up accosting in front of all those hostile expressions.
But after have turned back several times, the crew was tired and was beginning to be in lack of water and food, so they decide that at the next stop, they will lay feet on land whatever happens.
While arriving in Matavai’s Bay that were certainly one of the most seducing bay they saw, they do not hesitate no more and decided to accost there.
Unfortunately, while gong in this famous bay of Matavai, Captain’s vessel had hit a rock that immobilized it for approximately an hour. They were surrounded by the same hundreds of canoes like in the other bays, people on those canoes were just wishing one thing: The destruction of this foreign boat. Fortunately for the captain, a little breeze came and permit the vessel to exit from the rock and find another place for anchoring. Since this, this coral bank is called “The Dolphin’s bank” in memory of the Dolphin’s stranding.
Venus Point, a key place in Tahiti
Wallis’ arrival in Matavai’s Bay is the beginning of a hundred years rich in events:
- April, 13th 1769: The Captain James Cook arrived in Tahiti aboard de Endeavour for observing Venus’ transit planned on June, 3rd This expedition must serve for calculating the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Today, James Cook’s memos still one of the best sources of information about the old Polynesian society.
- March, 5th 1797: English missionaries from London Missionary Society (LMS) accosted in Matavai’s Bay aboard the Duff and had been installed at Venus Point.
- 1856: After a building demand made on 1851, a sidereal lantern was built on the Venus Point site.
- August 1867: After a building demand for a lighthouse on April, 12th 1864, it is finally finished on August 1867 and had been commissioning on January, 1st
- 1953: They added one floor for elevating the lighthouse and make it easily seeing from far, and it had been electrified only since 1973.
This Venus Point lighthouse is the only one lighthouse of Tahiti, more known as “Teara o Tahiti” in Tahitian, this square tower of 8 floors and high of 25 meters was edified of rubble and corals by Thomas Stevenson helped by masons directly from Mangareva.
For the little anecdote, during the second World War, Mahina’s citizens (the city where lighthouse is) had paint coconut trees on their lighthouse for hiding it and remove every landmark for the Japanese fleet that could land in Tahiti at every moment. So, this building built in the middle of coconut trees grove became invisible.
The lighthouse was hide so good that even the guardian can’t find it on nights he drunk. So, he climbed up on a coconut tree thinking that he’s taking the lighthouse’s stairs.
After had been forsaken for about 50 years because of Papeete’s harbour development, the Venus Point is going to restore her popularity with foreigners and attract more and more tourists every year.
Today, the Venus Point lighthouse stills working and is a remnant of Pacific history’s evolution that guides vessels approaching from Tahiti. It is also used for aerial navigation by dint of additional lenses for aerial clusters.
The Venus Point with her long and marvellous black sand beach, her emerald water, her mythic lighthouse and a long and compelling history behind her is a charming place that you can not miss while your trip in Tahiti. Ideal for every type of tourism : Cultural tourism, sports tourism, leisure tourism and many others…
Venus Point is marked by a lot of histories (legends or true histories). This place is the symbol of the meeting between Europeans and Polynesians.
It is the perfect place for walking on the beach, swimming or even learn more about French Polynesia’s history, you can practice every nautical sports (even surf).
Pictures : © Tahiti Tourisme