Moai

I felt strangely down this morning, surprising as we’d had a really nice meal last night at a restaurant run by a charming Belgian woman followed by an excellent Polynesian dance show. I decided it was mostly my extreme irritation that we had a 10.40 transfer for a 13.30 flight (the airport is three minutes away); partly that the cloud cover had been solid yesterday (rather spoiling my pictures) whereas it was fairly sunny today; and partly the fact I get sentimental about leaving places I don’t expect to come back to (I’ve been known to take pictures of car parks!), so I’d never see those moai (i.e. statues) again. So I hatched a plan…

After we checked in and got our boarding passes, I looked round for a taxi. There weren’t any, but eventually someone else was dropped off, and I accosted the driver. Through broken Spanish we negotiated that he’d take us to Ahu Tonkariki at the other end of the island, 20 minutes to take some photos of the stunning row of 15 maoi on the beach, and bring us back. Val was a little reluctant, but persuadable, and off we went! It’s a place we had visited with grey skies yesterday, but there was sunshine and clouds today, which was great (and not being part of a group, we had the place to ourselves), and better still, he also stopped for us to take some photos of the quarry on the hill which has many unfinished maois scattered on it. And back with loads of time to spare, he even took a detour to show us the massive earthworks the Americans undertook to lengthen the runway in case the space shuttle ever needed to land here).

We really liked Rapa Nui (Easter Island). It doesn’t have quite the climate of other Polynesian islands, and there is only one beach of any size on the island (yes, Val did manage a (rather chilly) swim there), but it has a nice laid back feel, and has some very interesting historical places to visit.

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3 thoughts on “Moai

  1. David Bassett says:

    The first-recorded European contact with the island was on 5 April (Easter Sunday) 1722 when Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen visited for a week and estimated there were 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants on the island. His party reported “remarkable, tall, stone figures, a good 30 feet in height”, the island had rich soil and a good climate and “all the country was under cultivation”. Fossil pollen analysis shows that the main trees on the island had gone 72 years earlier in 1650. The civilization of Easter Island was long believed to have degenerated drastically during the century before the arrival of the Dutch, as a result of overpopulation, deforestation and exploitation of an extremely isolated island with limited natural resources.

  2. David Bassett says:

    In mid-March 1774, British explorer James Cook visited Easter Island. He reported the statues as being neglected with some having fallen down; his botanist described it as “a poor land”.
    A series of devastating events killed almost the entire population of Easter Island in the 1860s.
    The first Christian missionary, Eugène Eyraud, arrived in January 1864 and spent most of that year on the island;
    A FASCINATING BUT VERY SAD STORY – DAVID.

  3. Alanna Thomson says:

    It must all be so interesing… well done guys for making the very most out of your travells!

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