Easter Island

From Openwaterpedia
Moai on Easter Island
Against The Current, a documentary film about Sarah Ferguson's Easter Island circumnavigation swim, was nominated for the 2021 World Open Water Swimming Product of the Year Award
Cristian Vergara's Easter Island circumnavigation swim was nominated for the 2016 WOWSA Awards, a recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association in the category of the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
Sarah Ferguson swimming 60 km around Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in March 2019 in 19 hours 8 minutes
Sarah Ferguson swimming 60 km around Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in March 2019 in 19 hours 8 minutes. Photo by Wofty Wild.

Easter Island (Rapa Nui in Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua in Spanish) is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.

Open Water Swimming

Against The Current Trailer

Plastic Oceans International produced the 58-minute documentary film Against The Current about the unprecedented 60 km circumnavigation swim around Easter Island by South African open water swimmer Sarah Ferguson in 19 hours 8 minutes in March 2019. Narrated by Matthew Modine.

Swimming Easter Island

Swimming Easter Island is a book written John McCarthy, his eyewitness account of the global effort that resulted in South Africa’s Sarah Ferguson becoming the first person to swim around the perimeter of Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui.


Polynesian people most likely settled on Easter Island sometime between 700 and 1100 CE, and created a thriving and industrious culture as evidenced by the island's numerous enormous stone moai and other artifacts. However, human activity, the introduction of the Polynesian rat and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources which severely weakened the Rapa Nui civilization. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from an estimated high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. European diseases and Peruvian slave raiding in the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, to a low of only 111 inhabitants in 1877.


Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents in 2013) is Pitcairn Island, 2,075 km (1,289 miles) away; the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea, on the island of Mangareva, 2,606 km (1,619 miles) away; the nearest continental point lies just in central Chile, 3,512 km (2,182 miles) away.

Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. Administratively, it belongs to the Valparaíso Region, and, more specifically, it is the only commune of the Province Isla de Pascua. According to the 2012 Chilean census, the island has about 5,800 residents, of whom some 60%are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui.


The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday on 5 April 1722, while searching for Davis or David's island. Roggeveen named it Paasch-Eyland (18th-century Dutch for "Easter Island"). The island's official Spanish name, Isla de Pascua, also means "Easter Island".

The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui ("Big Rapa"), was coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s, and refers to the island's topographic resemblance to the island of Rapa in the Bass Islands of the Austral Islands group.


The climate of Easter Island is classified as a tropical rainforest climate that borders on a humid subtropical climate. Winters are relatively mild. Easter Island's isolated location exposes it to winds which help to keep the temperature fairly cool.


Easter Island is served by Mataveri International Airport, with jet service (currently Boeing 767s and Boeing 787s) from LAN Airlines and, seasonally, subsidiaries such as LAN Peru.

9 Most Mysterious Islands

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