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Published: April 2nd 2009
Easter Island was a spur of the moment decision, inspired by Wendy´s cheap flights, we made in Puerto Natales. We knew that going there would mean something would have to give and it probably means that Venezuela is out of the question, but in keeping with the Discovery Channel and National Geopgraphic theme which has tended to dominate our decisions of late Easter Island fitted.
Well the flight over started pretty well (aside from Ann trying to smuggle her Swiss army knife onto a plane........it may be South America but some things are not meant to fly!) with the three of us getting a very lovely upgrade to Business Class on our flight over.....shame it was a morning flight because Champagne is a struggle and rum was just not going to happen! Though it was a very pleasent way to spend 5 hours.....yes Easter Island is about 3,700kms from Santiago.'
Upon arrival the first thing we noteiced was that it was humid.....that tropical heat humidity. Personally I figured that meant anything which was likely to be strenuous like riding a bike or trekking was going to out of the question. After our airport pick up complete with flower headbands
Motu Itu and Motu Kau
We dived off Motu Kau along an underwater wall at a depth of 25m.....the bottom which you could see was a further 60m below!
and necklaces we checked into our hostel and then headed for the beach. With water temperature around the mid twenties what better place to spend an afternoon......the Moais had been there for a couple of hundred years and given that no one is allowed to touch them we figured that they werent going anywhere.
The next day we hired a car and began our tour of Easter Island. The island is not that big with a big ring road that goes round the island and outside of the only town, Hanga Roa, there is very little traffic. We headed first to the extinct volcano Rano Kau which has the remains of the township of Okongo. The township was apparently used for the sprnig festivals when the bird cult had estalished iteself on the island (whcih was aparently after the Moai making phase). The volcano gave us great views of a couple of little islands, one of which Motu Nui was a site we dived a a few days later.
From Rano Kau we took the Southern coastal road to the 2nd of Rapa Nui´s volcano´s, Rano Raraku. Rano Raraku is most famous as the site at which the
Moai´s were quarried. The setting is spctacular as half completed Moai´s dot the side of the volcano staring in diferent directions and tilting at odd angles in a silent, everlasting vigil. The quarry is also where you get a first hand glimpse at the way in which the Moai´s were carved, straight out of the side of the volcano.....absolutely amazing.
From Rano Raruki it was a short hop to Rapa Nui´s most famous site, Ahu Tongariki, where there are 15 standing Moai´s. The scene with the sea behind them is spectacular.....there is something magical about them!
From Rano Raruki we headed north to the northern part of the island. By this stage we were getting pretty hot, it being the middle of the day, so when the opportunity presented itself to have a look at some Moai´s and have a dip at Anakena, there was no need for a vote! Its the only real sandy beach on Easter Island and is basically a tropical paradise.
After our cooling off hour or so we continued on our trek around Easter Island. We only had a few more sites to visit. These included Puna Pau, the site at whcih
the Moa Hat´s were quarried and Ahu Akivi which is the only site at which the Moai´s face the ocean and at the equinoxes there gaze meets the setting sun! All in all the tour of Rapa Nui was amazing. It is a mystery how they moved the massive stone Maoi´s into position and it is supposition as to the reason for crafting them in the first place. Despite there being descendents of the Rapa Nui living on the island, the knowledge appears to have been lost.
We had two days left on the island after that so we did a couple of dives. The water temperature of aruond 25 deg makes diving a pleasure, combined with crystal clear water and amazing visibility its an underwater paradise!
We also went and watched a couple of sunset´s. Something special about watching the sun go down to a backdrop of Moai.....the colours were amazing.....and yes I was a little taken by the moment and asked Ann to marry me.....she said yes and all of us. Celebrations followed andWendy, Eamo, Esther and Bianca (a couple of Swiss girls from the hostel) all had really sore heads in the morning!
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