Rapa Nui - Exploring further

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September 26th 2018
Published: October 6th 2018
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We are the only ones on the minibus this morning as we set out for our half day tour of Orongo and the volcano Rano Kau which is close to Hanga Roa. It is pretty obvious why as we approach the summit. There is a total whiteout and the wind is fierce. We shuttle into the information centre and our guide gives us a really good run down on the site and it’s significance but there is no way we can go exploring.

This southern tip of the island became the focal point for the Makemake or birdman culture that supreceded the building of the Moai. Every year in spring, the representatives of leaders of each ‘tribe’ would race from here across to the neighbouring small islands and the first to bring back an egg of the sooty tern woukd secure leadreship rights for his patron for the year.

We return to the township and explore around with the hope of getting back to the site tomorrow before we fly out. It is pretty quiet but we do a spot of shopping at the market, call into the local catholic church which is very simple and very different to those we have seen in previous weeks.

The weather clears and out afternoon tour reveals more. We travel inland to Ahu Huri a Urunga, then to Puna Pau, the quarry where the red pukao hats were sourced. Again, these are carved from the hillside and formed, somehow transported to the final site and asssmebled with the Moai. No one knows how this is done but aliens have been largely discounted from current thinking.

The last site is Ahi Akivi, unusual in that it is inland and the seven restored Moai look out to see. Legend is that these are seven guides looking out to guide the king to the island. They have been well restored and this is another example of the well maintained grounds around the key sites here. You pay a USD80 park fee and have to present your ticket at most locations. it is, in my view, money well spent as the everything is tidy, well signposted and although it is clear where and what you cannot do, it is not over the top.

We return to our favorite restaurant for another huge meal. Although we try to share a main and leave room for desert this doesn’t quite happen - the main turned out to be a platter, rather than what we ordered and then none of the chocolate deserts were available. The power goes off as we leave but is back on again shortly after we get back to to hotel.

An so ends the last full day of our holiday, a bit of damper because of the rain but it has been relaxing and good to take it easy after such an action packed few weeks.

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