Exploring Easter Island.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
402Trip End Dec 31, 2013
We sunk to the ground, pleased we had remembered to grab jumpers, and set up cameras ready for the dawn. A camaraderie, with the variety of nations present, saw biscuits and chocolates shared around as people bustled with tripods, lens and camera settings, and shared jackets and blankets. The sound of surf crashing on rocks made us aware the sea was not far behind the statues.
The light came gently first, through the heavy cloud cover
Easter Island had welcomed our very late flight with warm weather, ukuleles, scantily clad singing girls and fresh flower leis. A very Polynesian feel! A little hiccup occurred with our booked accommodation of a cabin at Camping Mihinoa – Marta the owner did not have our name down as coming. There was a mix up with dates. It worked wonderfully to our advantage, because it was their error, we were put in better accommodation next door in the Hostal Tojika owned by Marta’s sister Kati, right on the beach front and for the same price of $40 per night.
Within half an hour of arrival we were embroiled in a hilarious attempt for us all to have a fire drill. Some officials had been talking to Marta and Kati, saying there had to be fire drill and an emergency meeting point. So a sign was put up to be the emergency meeting point then all the campers and cabin dwellers were advised the drill was going to happen. But as with all fire drills once you know it is going to happen you just sort of - wait for it. You don’t want to go back to what you were doing
Soon after, while discussing with Marta various options for transport, we got into conversation with two other guests mentioned at the beginning of this story, Brian and Marina. Brian the Canadian said he had heard that you have to see the Ahu Tongarika site of Moai Statues at dawn. Marta suggested we share the cost of the hire car between the four of us so we made the plan to go on the second full day of our stay.
The first day saw us having a much needed sleep in and a long walk to see the statues that were close to the main town of Hanga Roa. After our early morning start the next day, Brian decided to return to town with another person who had a car and Marina came with us to see many more of the sites around the Island. We put in a full day of sightseeing but had a bit of a nasty surprise at the National Park
Easter Island is still somewhat of an enigma. Why did the predecessors spend so much time building their Moai Statues and the stone platforms (Ahu) they stand on? They also left legacies of petroglyphs (intricate carvings in rocks) and ceremonial buildings still intact.
The recent history has been quite turbulent. Chile took control of the island in 1888. Up until 1963 the Rapa Nui people were forbidden to leave the island and were literally fenced in. Many died trying to escape the island in tiny boats. The island was run as one huge sheep "estancia"" at that time
Our four days went very fast and we were quite sad it had not been for longer. It is a beautiful place of crashing surf, rocky cliffs, crater lakes and of course, unique archaeological treasures. Our plane was on time when we departed and its now back to Chile mainland.
Footnote: The Moai, Easter Island, Chile are an official Finalist in the New Seven Wonders Of The World. Rapa Nui National Park is also UNESCO World Heritage Listed.