Easter Island, Chile

2019 HAL World Cruise

Sunday, February 10, 2019

 

So sometimes, we’re romantics at heart.  One of the reasons we chose to take this cruise was to explore the mysterious Easter Island.  We knew of it.  We had seen moai.  We knew there was uncertainty about the history of the island and the meaning of the moai statues.  We were eager to learn more; to be in the moment; to garner impressions!

Easter Island is known to the native people as Rapa Nui.  The culture dates back to about 500 AD.  It was named “Easter Island” by Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen when he spotted the island on Easter Sunday, 1722.   The island is famous for the moai, those huge statues, nearly 9oo of them, dotting the island.  Each one is carved from a single stone of compressed volcanic ash.  The largest standing moai is 33 feet tall and weighs 83 tons!  (Archeologists have also discovered larger, unfinished moai in the Rano Kau quarry—69 feet high and 270 tons!)

The Rapa Nui National Park ranger explained to us that the moai are carved in the likeness of ancestors; the point is to honor their forebearers in hopes of protection and good fortune; the moai always face inland (with only one exception) to watch over the population; their backs are to the see because that’s were they came from and where there spirits still reside.  (That one exception is the Ahu Akivi.  Here seven moai, representing the original scouts left on the island to await the King’s arrival with the original settlers, face the ocean in anticipation.)

We arrived at our anchorage before dawn.  I’ll confess, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.  Got Roger up in the black of night to watch the sail-in!  So, you might sympathize with our frustration when it was announced that the tender operation would be very slow due to the large swells rocking both the ship and the tenders—not necessarily in unison!  We didn’t get to shore until after 2:00pm!!!!  But at least we did; by 4:00pm all outbound transport was cancelled and many passengers lost the opportunity to go ashore.  From 4:30 to 6:30pm only returning passengers were transported.  We were on one of the last tenders.  Our 8-hour tour had been accomplished in less than 4 hours!  It was a whirlwind tour, to say the least!

Here are the photos:

Sunrise over Easter Island
Sunrise over Easter Island
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The tenders are deployed, awaiting the customs team and thier OK before passengers may depart for shore.
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The Rapa Nui customs team coming on board to give the ship clearance and enjoy breakfast in the Lido!!!!
The customs team "rafted" with the tender to board quickly.
The customs team “rafted” with the tender to board quickly.
The Easter Island Airport is visible from the ship.
The Easter Island Airport is visible from the ship.
And we watched a Lantam airlines plane coming infor a landing.
And we watched a Latam airlines plane coming in for a landing.
Nice view from the ship of the landing.
Nice view from the ship of the landing.
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Later that afternoon, we watched the Latam Airliner take-off on its turnaround departure.
Loading up the first tender.
Loading up the first tender.
Watch the ship roll in this series of shots.
Watch the ship roll in this series of shots.
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It was difficult to board the tenders. As safety was of primary concern, each passenger had “handlers” to help them make the leap!
This was an extrememly time-consuming process.
This was an extrememly time-consuming process.
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We could see Moai from the ship!!!! These figures are in the village of Hanga Roa, not far from the tender dock.
We finally made it ashore around 2:00pm!
We finally made it ashore around 2:00pm!
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Our tour guide was waiting for us and we set off on the adventure we’d been anticipating! This is a view from the van as we headed toward the Rapa Nui National Park at Anakena.
Another view from the van.
Another view from the van.
Roger and the Moai at Anakena.
Roger and the Moai at Anakena.
The Anakena Moai
The Anakena Moai
We proceeded to the Ahu Tongariki Moai.
We proceeded to the Ahu Tongariki Moai.
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The moai are sculpted at the Rano Raraku Quarry. The “top hats” are obtained and created at the Puna Pau Quarry where red colored rocks (scoria) are found.
A moai with his top hat.
A moai with his top hat.
The Ahu Tongariki Moai.  This is the "Travelling Moai"
The Ahu Tongariki Moai. This is the “Travelling Moai”
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And we visited the Rano Raraku Quarry. We saw many fallen and unrestored moai in the quarry area.
Roger at the Rano Raraku Quarry
Roger at the Rano Raraku Quarry
The sharp cuts indicate where the moai were carved.
The sharp cuts indicate where the moai were carved.
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
only about 1/3 of a moai is visible.
Only about 1/3 of a moai is visible.
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
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We were told there are about 6000 inhabitants on Easter Island. And just as many horses! There are about 1000 moai. This photo may give you an idea of the size of the moai!
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
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Sandy at Ahu Tongariki, sitting with the “Traveling Moai.”  Because the Japanese people had provided assistance for the restoration of the moai, this particular statue was sent to Japan, on loan, to be shown at trade shows in Osaka and Tokyo.

 

This was a fabulous port-of-call.  I chose to end the series of photos with Traveling Moai because he so perfectly illustrates the joys, education, and opportunities of travel!  Our next stop will be at Pitcairn Island, although only an anchorage.  We will not disembark the ship.  Instead, a delegation from the island will come on board.  We look forward to meeting them!!!!!

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