Back to top

Conquering the Last Leg of the Polynesian Triangle

Today, August 17th 2012, a crew of 24 Maori sailors from New Zealand set sail on their voyage to Easter Island, the world’s most isolated inhabited island. The island was annexed by Chile in 1888 and is located 3000 km off the coast, in the middle of the Pacific ocean. The most unusual aspect of the journey? The crew are planning to complete the entire voyage without GPS, maps or a compass! The group will use traditional Polynesian sailing techniques which don’t require any instruments, focusing instead on the movement of the sun, stars and moon, the ocean currents and the movement of birds and marine fauna.
This is the only leg of the Polynesian triangle which has not been completed (or at least where there exist no records) with these old Polynesian methods. The triangle encompasses Easter Island to the East, New Zealand to the West and Hawaii to the North, linking together the area discovered approximately 3,000 years ago when explorers thought to be from South-East Asia set sail across the Pacific ocean into modern day Polynesia. 
The 10,000 nautical mile return trip between New Zealand and Easter Island is being sailed in a double-hulled canoe (waka hourua) named Te Aurere. A second waka hourua will accompany Te Aurere, carved by the same native designer. Over the last 20 years throughout its planning stages the journey has aroused the interest of the Chilean and New Zealand government and global anthropologists, keen to trace the links between the Maori and Rapa Nui communities. 
Easter Island is just 163.6 km2 (63.1 sq mi) and ordinarily would be almost impossible to find without a compass and map. However, the crew are confident using their ancestors’ methods and have undergone training supported by the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute who are behind the project. 
The crew will be (ironically) updating the world of their progress via twitter and all of the social media networks. Hopefully upon arrival they’ll have time to explore Easter Island and discover the island’s impressive Moai statues and all of its mystical heritage. Cascada wishes them the best of luck!

For your chance to explore the magic of Easter Island book your Easter Island Rapa Nui Explorer Tour or indulge in an Easter Island Rapa Nui Premium Explorer Tour. Easter Island tours are the perfect addition to all Patagonia tours and Atacama desert trips in Chile.