2022 marked the initial launch of the Blue Ocean Daily festival. The 5-week event aimed to provide tourists and tourism operators with recreational water activities. It was only recently the festival has come to a fitting end after offering a total of 22 Austronesian-themed maritime activities with local schools, tribes and industry associations.
Jinzun Village and Flowing Lake are currently being built up as hubs to spread awareness of recreational aquatic activities and marine culture education. By means of providing county residents and tourists more aquatic activity diversity, both hubs follow three ideals: embracing, engaging and knowing the sea. Furthermore, with the partnership with the Kimokeo Foundation from Hawaii, the recent new addition and integration of Shanyuan Bay has garnered much international exposure.
The inaugural Blue Ocean Daily Festival’s significance lies in its cultural roots search, as well as meaningful international exchanges. The Taitung County Government invited Kimokeo Kapahulehua (also known as Uncle K), well-known throughout Hawaii for his preservation efforts of Hawaiian culture, to build off the year’s prior establishment of the Taiwan Outrigger Canoe Club (TOCC). The club brought ethnic Taiwanese Hawaiians athletes to Taitung for their natural affinity toward reconnecting with their mutual ancestors.
Uncle K introduced the Hawaiian outrigger canoe to Taitung and the important role it played during the Austronesian migration period. County residents were then able to know the canoes and experience them up-close during one of the eight classes Uncle K hosted during the festival.
The Haiiwan native also did a first for Taiwan—performing a long-distance sail in an Outrigger Canoe in Taiwan’s waters. Kapahulehua and his crew set sail from Shanyuan Bay to traditional waters of the Torik Tribe, effectively reenacting the historical setting of using boats as means to maintain friendly relations between Austronesian communities.
During the welcoming ceremony, before coming ashore, a conch shell trumpet was prepared and blown to announce the Hawaiian crew had arrived by canoe, then, the on-shore Torik Tribe responded with a bamboo bugle horn to greet the Hawaiians ashore. This marks a meaningful milestone for the Blue Ocean Daily Festival so that the festival may continue to carry on the spirit of its unique cultural heritage.
The Blue Ocean Daily Festival in addition to facilitating exchanges between international organizations, local tribes and academic institutions, it’s also the starting point in which marine creation and community revitalization occurs. The county government is also committed to developing smart tourism.
4K video feeds have been installed at three locations in Jinlun, Fugang, and Huayuan and will soon be made available for public access online. The zero-latency broadcasts enable the public easy access to Taitung’s beauty and can marvel at it anytime, anywhere. In the future, the county government also expects to launch online ecology education and tours to develop its intertidal zone-themed content that is not limited by time and space.
Taiwan is believed by some experts to be where the Austronesian language family originated, according to the Taitung County Government. There are seven indigenous groups in Taitung County, making it the most culturally diverse county in Taiwan. Moreover, Taitung is blessed with rich marine resources, with a 249-kilometer coastline including the county’s outlying islands, which when totaled together, is the longest coastline in the nation. The county also has rare deep ocean water (DOW) and underwater hot springs, which can only be found in few places on Earth. The unique geographical environment and rich cultural heritage makes the county well positioned for development within the marine recreation industry.
In the future, the county government will continue to connect with the international community through the Blue Ocean Daily Festival and promote the revitalization of marine themed tourism and community development to achieve its vision of sustainable development of the local marine recreation industry.