Cruise by Easter Island

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South America » Chile » Easter Island
February 21st 2016
Published: June 25th 2017
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Geo: -27.1105, -109.363

The fourth full day on the ship was scheduled as a cruise-by of Easter Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We expected to be there from about 4 – 6 p.m. As it turned out, we arrived by 2:30 and went straight to the main village of Hanga Roa on the west coast to disembark a "seriously unwell" passenger. The captain announced fairly early in the morning that this passenger needed medical attention, and he picked up speed to over 28 knots to get to Easter Island as quickly as possible. There is no other populated land mass in the area. On Easter Island (Rapa Nui in the indigenous language), the passenger could get a flight back to Santiago for the appropriate care. The arrangements for the sick passenger included being picked up by a tender from the Costa Luminosa, a corporate partner of Cunard, which was already at anchor in the port and had tenders launched and going. One of the Queen Mary 2 nurses accompanied the passenger and stayed with her until she was transferred to the hands of medical personnel on the island. While the passenger was being taken care of, the ship did its cruise-by, then returned to the port to pick up the nurse. All seemed to be handled very efficiently.

In the port area, we were able to see the moai Tahai with a single statue near a string of five statues. On the cruise-by, we skirted two small islands at the southwestern tip of Easter Island, Motu Nui and Motu Iti, then we cruised northeasterly along the southern coast. We passed by a number of places where the map marked moai locations on the coast, but the only ones that we were certain we saw were the group randomly scattered on a hillside, and Tongariki, the string of fifteen moai standing side-by-side nearby. The statues must have looked quite intimidating to anyone sailing up without knowing what they were. They look like giants standing watch.

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