(photo courtesy of casyc23. The red and black circle at the head of the boat is 'mata-no-tarara' (eye) and sun. It can expel evil spirits and evoke good fortunes.)
In Tao's language, 'Tao' means 'human.' Although Lanyu (orchid island, where the Tao people live) is belong to Taiwan now, considering language and culture, the Tao people are closer to Ivatan people in Batanes islands in Philippine than other peoples in Taiwan.
As a branch of Austronesian people, the Tao people are good at building boat, and they use boats for fishing. Their wooden boat is not canoe. They combine different kinds of wood to build small wooden boat (tatara) for one or two people and large wooden boat (chinurikuran) for around ten people.
The tatara boat culture in Lanyu is the aggregation of physiology, psychology, economy, belief, and world view of the Tao people.
Because of the aggression of the modern economy, the young people in the families (in Lanyu) are absorbed by the capitalistic market in Taiwan. The elders cannot afford to build a big boat, so they can only watch these old boats decomposing. In the yearly flyfish ceremony, the elders are sad because they only have harbors but not boats.
In 2001, with some people in our community, we brought some wood logged from the forests in the island to the National museum of natural science in Taichung (Taiwan). We built a big boat for ten people, which is not for traditional fishing community-based usage.
當年我們詢問父親：”可以到台灣造大船嗎？makanyou（禁忌）怎麼辦？”父親也細詢了為何要去台灣造大船的用意……？”給台灣的人看，也讓他們了解，大船不只是美麗而已，而是還有我們的智慧與能力！”我們回答。沈思後的父親給了我們一個說法：”台灣又沒有我們的鬼（anito），你 們想那麼多做什麼？”之後，那一年我們順利的完成了一艘向台灣展示的文化大船……。就在完工的當時，緊接而來的是：「做好了船，怎麼不划呢？」於是，五年 後的今天，我們想與台灣的朋友分享一件事：船，不只是被展示的，更是可以航行的，我們將拜訪台灣……。
Before we built that one, we asked our fathers, 'can we build a boat in Taiwan? How about the makanyou (taboo)?' Our fathers asked about our intention. 'We want to show Taiwanese our boats and let them understand that our boats are not only beautiful but also full of our intelligence and capability.' After contemplation, our fathers said, 'there is no anito (our ghosts) in Taiwan, why are you afraid?'
One year later, we finished that boat successfully. Then people asked us, 'why not row it after building it?' As a result, five years after that, we want to share something with our friends in Taiwan, 'our boats are not only for demonstration but also for navigation. We will visit Taiwan.'
船長1016 c m ，寬170 c m，高270 cm
我們的大船取名為： Ipanga na，1001跨越號。 （ipanga na是Tao語裡的名詞，有跨越、航行之意。）
The length of the boat is 1016 cm, the width is 170 cm, and the height is 270 cm.
Our boat is named 'Ipanaga na, 1001.' Ipanga na in Tao means crossing over and navigation. Ipanga na also means moving. We will go to many places.
'1001' is named because our boat is longer than 10 m.
Being a documentary filmmaker working in Lanyu, Chien-shieng Lin with his Tao friend Shaman Fuayuan called some Tao people and Taiwanese to build this boat together. It took four months, and it is the largest tatara boat the Tao people have built in the recent one hundred year.
They planned to row from Lanyu to Taitung, then to Taipei, and finally return to Taitung. The total length of the voyage is about 1438.6 km. They plan to finish it in 35 days. In average, they need to row 50-60 km per day. There are 12 people rowing at one time, and there are two teams of people for rotation.
Originally they planned to start on 6/12, but the plan was delayed because of the weather:
The elders said, 'the weather in June in Lanyu is capricious. Why don't you start in July? In July, the sea looks like having soybean oil on the surface. If you choose to depart in July, we are relieved, aren't we?' Later the captain of the ship that will go with us, I-Tsung Chou, brought the sea chart and the weather map, and he told us the weather would not be stable before 6/19.
They started off this June 20th, and now they arrived Taitung safely. Although they practiced several times before the voyage, it's still hard because they need to struggle with the Kuroshio current.
In the middle of the rowing, 'I really hoped that ship could drag us.' The thought was not due to the current but due to the sun. But no one gave up.
Their next project, after the funds are raised, will be rowing to Batan islands to meet the Ivatan people.