Mazu 媽祖, also known as Tianhou 天后 (among other names), is a popular Taoist and Chinese Buddhist goddess. She is the patroness of the sea, believed to protect fishermen and sailors.
This statue is located on Nangan Island (南竿島) in Taiwan's Matsu Island chain (馬祖群島). Completed in 1998, it is the tallest statue of Mazu in the world at 29.6 meters. The number 29.6 also represents the total area, in square kilometers, of the Matsu islands.
The location of this statue in the Matsu Island chain is significant. Mazu is the deified form of the historical Fujianese shamaness Lin Moniang (林默孃). One legend tells that Lin Moniang went out into the sea during a storm to try to find her lost father. Hours passed but still she could not find her father and later died of exhaustion. Her corpse washed ashore on Nangan Island, where her tomb can be visited today.
I chose this spot for this special virtual cache because I feel it represents Taiwan well.
Geographically, Taiwan is an assemblage of many islands whose livelihood has depended upon the windswept sea. Nangan Island feels like a step back in time to Taiwan's historical sailing and fishing days, when the local population truly depended upon the blessings of the goddess of fishermen and sailors.
Culturally, Taiwan is inextricably linked with China, whose shores can be seen from Matsu. The scars that Matsu bears from military actions between government factions in China and Taiwan can be seen all over the island chain. However, the giant statue of Mazu seems to watch over Taiwan and China, protecting the people of a shared culture despite their political differences.
How to log this cache
This is a virtual cache which means there is no container nor log book to sign. However, it is not an armchair cache. You must physically go to the posted coordinates. After visiting the area, in order to post a valid Find online, please do the following:
1. Email me the code numbers of one of the two warning signs found behind the statue. The code number is located in the lower right corner, as in the photo below.
2. (Optional) Post a photo of you and/or your GPS at the statue.
You may post your Found log as soon as you complete #1 above; you don't need to wait for my approval. Logs that do not meet the requirement may be deleted. Please do not write the sign code numbers in your log.
This cache is my one hundredth placement! 💯
I hope you enjoy your time in Matsu as much as I did!
Note about the terrain rating: The GZ is wheelchair accessible. However, if you are not disabled then you will be required to walk up several dozen steps, which is why I have the T2 rating.
Virtual Reward - 2017/2018
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.