Easter Island-Lost Again to Climate Change?

The Stillness. The magnificent Moai. The waves crashing behind. The wonder of how the Moai were built, how the were moved around the island and the history of the island deeply impacted me when I visited Easter Island 6 years ago.

Impact of Climate Change

Today, the New York Times posted an article the ways that climate change is impacting on Easter Island. The ocean is reclaiming the land and threaten many of the sacred Moai sites. Here’s the New York Times piece: Rising Seas Threaten the Ancient Monuments of Easter Island

Easter Island–Mystery and Destruction 

Easter Island sits more than 2,200 miles off the coast of Chile. Much of the history of the island is tragic and the rest not fully understood. The Moai were created more than 1,000 years ago. The monuments weigh 50-80 tons. The red topknots on the hats weigh 5-10 tons. No-one understand how or why the Moai were moved all over the 15 mile-wide island. Many are sacred burial sites. There is a quarry with dozens of unfinished Moai.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Over the course of its history, the island was deforested, raided (in the 1800s) for slaves by the British who then returned slaves infected with smallpox to the island and turned into a sheep farm by the British company Williams and Balfour. At one point the population of Easter Island was reduced to 110 people. In 1964, the Rapa Nui finally obtained full political rights. When we were there in 2011, most of the island still did not have electric or running water.

The First Triathlon

Missionaries tried to convert the Rapa Nui to christianity, but the islanders created their own version–the birdman religion.  Every year, there was a completion to select the tribal chief for the year. The island’s best warriors competed to bring back the first egg of the sooty tern. The competition amounted to a life and death triathlon that included scaling a 1000 foot cliff, swimming to an island 1.4 KM away, finding the first egg and and retracing their steps to bring the egg back unbroken.

What Did I learn from Easter Island

Easter Island is a beautiful, wondrous place with a tragic history–some self-inflect, some a result of European plunder and exploitation. The deforestation of the island is considered by many to be an environmental lesson. Jared Diamond’s best-selling book, Collapse, details this. Now, our destruction of the environment worldwide is another chapter in this story. There is a proud history that the descendants of the Rapa Nui claim and treasure. Climate change will likely destroy much of Easter Island. It will be a loss to us physically and historically. We need to figure out how to support the Rapa Nui people and ourselves to learn how to go forward with these changes.


Yesterday I attended the Thursday protest by the Mothers and the Grandmothers of the disappeared. It was a very moving experience that I will write more on when I return. This is an article from the New York Times about them.

Top 10 things I learned at the New York Times Travel Show–Save $$ on Booking Flights

Top 10 things I learned at the NYT travel show:

When booking flights:

  • First step before booking check flights using aggregators (momondo, skyscanner, google flights – sign up for alerts when fare changes).
  • Most of these are not booking engines but search the internet for lowest fares
  • Aggregators do not include some low cost carriers like Southwest Airlines, EasyJet and Ryanair
  • Also check consolidators like flyinternational.com, cheapoair to compare
  • Don’t forget to check flyertalk for premium fare deals
  • You can predict air fare hikes by downloading hopper (app), airfarewatchdog, airfarespot, google flights
  • AARP members get 10% discounts on British Airways flights
  • Best time for fare deals tend to be mid-day Tuesday (when airlines release deals after reviewing weekend bookings)
  • Always clear your cache/cookies after each search, or use a different browser
  • Fares appear to be higher for Mac vs Windows users

New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2017

I always enjoy seeing the annual New York Times 52 Places to Go article. This year they have Canada in the top spot. The list is a mix of well-known and off the beaten track places.

Reggie and I have been to 15 of these cities/countries. How many have you been to? How are you putting on your list for this year?

Here’s the full link if the hyperlink above doesn’t work: http://nyti.ms/2j4t8E8