The second day in paradise has us embark on a full day excursion getting to know Rapa Nui island. Still high on my emotions from the first day, I wake up happy & calm, ready for the day ahead. Out the window of my apartment, I can see the clouds alternating with the sunshine, what with the wind being surprisingly “chilly” after all. So what was this thing about being in paradise once again?
Paradise, to me, is drinking fresh tropical fruit juices every day – mango, melon, banana, guava, you name it. Less of a paradise is what we are about to hear concerning the history & evolution of the Rapa Nui …
… toppled down Moai. Stories of wartime, cannibalism and slavery. Fast-forwarding a tale of our conditio humana, humanity’s eternal hunger for conquest, has all but left its dentulous marks on an island this tiny little size in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. So what happened? “Oh, the flowers & the trees, virtually everything you see around the village and the island today, is not from Easter Island”, Nune our local history guide for the day, tells us. It is thanks to her wealth of knowledge and cheerful nature that we are able to learn a lot about the complexity of the situation, and historic evolution, on Easter Island. “The last native trees that grow here have been planted from seeds early Norwegian explorers have collected in the past – before they became extinct some 50 yers ago. Only recently, they have again been reintroduced.”
Indeed, what supports Nune’s explanations is the rather barren steppe image of Easter Island today, what with its former lush, subtropical vegetation supporting thousands of migratory birds an utopia of times long gone by. The arrival of the first Polynesian seafarers has been dated to around 700 to 800 AD – and with it the first irreversible changes: Polynesian rats, part of the early people’s diet, feed on the eggs of the seabirds, invasive plants little by little replacing the much slower growing native species. Unfortunately for the island’s ecosystem, we are talking a very tiny island in comparison to other island states, such as New Zealand, hence the impact upon the local ecosystem being especially devastating. The Rapa Nui are only able to maintain their culture and society until the fragile ecosystem of the 12 x 17 x 24 kilometres’ island triangle reaches a tipping point: Scarce wood, perhaps difficulties in sustaining food supplies for a heyday population of 15.000, are said to be the causes for first feuds and later wars among the different tribes here.
In the course of the 17th century, even before Easter Island was discovered by the Western World, war & issues of scarce resources threaten the culture of the Rapa Nui. Things start tumbling down – and with them, the mighty Moai.
Looking at all those Moai, lying face-down on the ground for what must have been centuries now, ends up saddening me deeply. I did not expect this, as this is an image less or hardly propagated outside Easter Island. It is, however, a fact that most Moai around the island lie face down on the ground, witness of a truly eventful history. Only a selected few have been re-erected in the course of the past decades. Check this out.
Fascinating. I am impressed. Easter Island leaves me full of emotions, a new level of consciousness & just so much more (spiritual) energy. I can only recommend you to come here and see for yourself, taking that time of your life to feel and live the magic.!
Last but not least, we end our day with a visit of the island’s only sandy beach, Anakena in the north. Driving there, we are greeted by turquoise sea bays, perfectly shaped rocks, palm trees and of course, Moai lined up right by the beach. WOW! What a sight, really … once more, the magic invades me honouring my presence on this very particular, very special spot on Earth.
For even more magic from Easter Island, head on over to my Flickr Photo Gallery here:
I have also written & published the following stories about Easter Island:
- Dream Destination Diaries: “Sweet Sandy Beaches & Mystical Moai Meditations on Easter Island“
- Dream Destination Diaries: “Sensing ‘Te Pito O Te Henua‘, The Navel of the World“
- Dream Destination Diaries: “Enchanting Easter Island“
Hope you enjoy! 🙂