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Ancient engraving: Matavaï Bay stamps from French Polynesia

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The engraving from which the new Polynesian stamp originates is an extract from the second tome of the “Voyages of Captain Cook” (French Edition - 1779 — pi. 9). It is entitled: “View of Matavaï Bay in Otahiti, called the HAVEN OF THE ROYAL PORT by Captain Wallis”.

That bay on the north coast of Tahiti is lined by a long black basalt sand beach which ends with a strip of land called “Point Venus”. This is the place where, in 1769, James Cook set up a little fortified compound for a calm and protected study of the transit of the planet Venus in front of the sun.

This compound can be seen in the background, while the foreground is occupied by a massive tree, standing out against the hill called “Taharaa”, and which for long was called “Cook’s tree”.

The ship at anchor is certainly the Resolution. All the first European circumnavigators first anchored in this relatively well-sheltered bay.

In addition to being a very popular beach, the site has become historical and very touristy. And today it is the perfect venue for any type of event.

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