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Published: April 21st 2015
15-16 April - Hanga Roa - Easter Island, Chile
After another two days at sea we reached Easter Island. We felt very lucky, as our ship was to anchor overnight allowing us to take a two-day tour. The first anchorage was found to be too rough for the tenders so the captain moved the ship around to the other side of the triangular shaped island were they managed to get the tenders onto a landing near a stunning beach. Ron had been worried we may not make it ashore as we had read that over the years previous cruises had been unable to tender.
We were very pleased with our two-day tour, which had been organized through Easter Island Travel; we not only saw all the most interesting sites but we had a wonderful lunch overlooking the coast and Moai then treated to a performance by a local dance group. We visited some of the 887 Moai, gigantic stone monoliths, on Rapa Nui. Most are made from compressed volcanic ash, 13 from basalt, 22 from trachyte and 17 from red scoria rock. Some statues have been placed on ahu platforms, which were often burial places
where important graves were built. The moai have heads that are 3/5 larger than their bodies, it is believed that they represent locals, ancestors of those who built them. The moai face inland so that the statues could watch over the villages.
On our second day ashore we visited Rano quarry where there are 397 statues, either completed or still in the process of being carved. The largest moai is located at the quarry it is unfinished and had it been completed it would have been 21.6 metres tall and weighed up to 270- tons. Specialists believe the statues were built between 250 and 1500 AD. Overtime all of the Moai were pushed over, some during tribal wars and some were swept inland by a tidal wave, the ones we see standing today have been restored by specialists.
On returning to the tender site we found the boarding line was extremely long, due to the large swell slowing down the boarding process. We were pleased to be able to take the opportunity to explore for an extra hour the nearby beach, here we found a lovely open-air restaurant to enjoy a cold beer and
snacks. We even had time to take a swim in the warm sea while keeping an eye on the queue to ensure that we did not miss the last tender back to the ship. We agreed it was a perfect end to a magical two days on Easter Island.
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