Running after Routledge: Retracing an English Expedition to Easter Island
Help save Rapa Nui’s (Easter Island) freshwater aquifer!
Running after Routledge is a collaborative and multidimensional expedition with a mission to do three things:
- Retrace sections of the 1914 Mana Expedition to Easter Island.
- Study environmental change.
- Raise funds to purchase a BioMax digester unit for the island of Rapa Nui.
The expedition will follow parts of the route that the 1914 Mana Expedition took to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Starting in Darlington, England, ‘Running after Routledge’ (RAR) will visit three countries and cross two oceans to arrive at Rapa Nui, the most isolated island in the world. But as with all journeys, the true experience will be found en route. RAR will connect the dots between human communities, examine the environmental changes that have taken place since the Mana Expedition sailed one hundred years ago, and raise awareness about environmental issues.
Departing from the UK in February 2014 the expedition plans to arrive on Rapa Nui in time for the June 1st marathon.
In 2005, as a volunteer with the youth outreach organisation on Rapa Nui – ‘A Po, Susie discovered that she shared a birthplace (Darlington, England) with one of the first anthropologists to visit and document the island’s culture: Katherine Routledge. Since then Susie has planned to return to Rapa Nui and pay tribute to the 1914 Mana Expedition team, of which Katherine was the only woman.
Fast-forward to 2012 and Susie started planning an expedition to retrace the voyage of the Mana. But as an avid runner, it made most sense for Susie to follow her passion and attempt an expedition with sections on foot, hence ‘Running after Routledge’ was born.
Susie plans to leave her hometown of Darlington and run to Southampton, the departure point of the 1914 Mana Expedition. From there Susie will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The next section of the route will be on bike from Argentina, across the Pampas region, and over the Andes to Santiago, Chile. From there, the journey will involve sailing from Valparaiso out to Rapa Nui.
As Susie travels she will be documenting the environmental changes that have occurred since the 1914 Mana Expedition, by comparing notes with the book ‘The Mystery of Easter Island’ written by Katherine Routledge. The main focus of the 2014 trip is to highlight the increasing difficulty of supplying fresh and clean drinking water to ever growing human populations. On Rapa Nui drinking water is in short supply as the population increases and demands on the island’s source of fresh water aquifer amass.
To assist with relieving pressure on Rapa Nui’s freshwater aquifer, Pacific Aid Australia, an Australian NGO, which supports the ecologically sustainable development of Pacific islands, have partnered with BioMax to recycle wastewater. Easter Island’s aquifer is being contaminated by raw sewerage because the island does not have a sewerage treatment facility and only a few septic tanks have been installed on newer developments. The BioMax can be scaled up or down and can be retrofitted to whole neighbourhoods and hotels. It treats water to above World Health Organisation standards and can be used for restricted irrigations purposes like landscaping and a wide variety of other applications, which will help relieve pressure on Easter Island’s limited water supply. Running after Routledge will be raising funds for the BioMax as Susie travels from Darlington to the Pacific: 80,000 Australian dollars will secure the shipping and installation of the unit to the island – where it can be put to work and act as an example for other Pacific islands in similar situations. To read a recent report by Katherine Rosa about Rapa Nui’s hydrogeology and issues facing the island’s aquifer please see the attached document: Rosa_RNJ2013
Recent Press: The expedition has featured in The Northern Echo in an interview with reporter Hannah Bryan, read more HERE.
With the ‘run’ stage of Running after Routledge now underway we have started fundraising in earnest! First of all we created a PayPal account to accept online donations to the freshwater water campaign fund – thank you to everyone who used that link, your donations will be transferred. The good news is the JustGiving page for Pacific Aid Australia is now active, and we have our own fundraising page HERE. A huge thank you to everyone who has already donated! All donations are gratefully received.
Extra news about the progress of the expedition can now be traced on a recently created Facebook Page: Retracing Routledge. Check there for frequent updates.