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A lucky Rapa Nui girl

4 years ago we, as Rapa Nui islanders, used to have a direct flight from Rapa Nui to the island of Tahiti that took us in just 5 and a half hours to the southwest corner of the Polynesian triangle where we had a close and open door to the rest of our Polynesian island sisters.  
In 2020 the COVID pandemic hit the world and everything changed and that flight was cut and still hasn´t come back, the airlines are broke and now the industry says that this route is not “profitable” anymore.  
I used this flight to meet since a young age not just “French Polynesia” but Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Hawai’i and prove how similar we are with my native Rapa Nui. Since I have memory this flight has been our connection to the other side of the world, and the rest of our people, and helped me to understand better the histories of my grandparents and family that raised me. 
Hundreds of years ago this route was sailed by my ancestors in an endless mission to populate new islands carrying a whole village, food, animals, and knowledge to live in perfect sustainability, not just in the new territories they discover but on the double canoe boat they used to sails, learn and understand nature. This territory is what we know as Polynesia, a huge amount of islands from northeast Asia to southeast Rapa Nui. 
Right now I’m a lucky Rapa Nui girl invited to be part of the Europa crew Boat and the scientific research team on the leg from the Rapa Nui to Tahiti and some island in between, yes the same route again. It's my second time with this experience, The last time was in 2020 with Exxpedition, the English foundation that creates awareness about women in science and sailing….it was right at the beginning of covid so we left Rapa Nui without a pandemic and we anchored in Tahiti 3 weeks later with the island locked down and our crew being hurried by the authorities to take the last flight out of Tahiti the next day because they would close the airport until further notice.  
Excitement is a short Word to describe how happy and grateful I feel to have the opportunity again to sail my ancestor's routes, the incredible opportunity I have to connect with the little islands on the way where they stopped to get supplies, fix their ships maybe, observe the world from another perspective and so on. We don’t have that flight route anymore but we still have the ocean and sailing just like in the old time…hopefully one day the Rapa Nui people can sail these waters in our own traditional canoes.  

As a crew member, my mission is to help with life on board tasks, learn more about sailing, and help with science looking for plastic and trying to document them….. a different mission than my ancestors but the same route.

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