Wednesday, April 2, 2008


MARCH, 2008.
Easter Island today, remains one of the most unique places you will ever encounter; it's an open air museum showcasing a fascinating, but unfortunately lost culture. The RAPANUI are among the friendliest people you will ever meet, and the landscape is truly amazing - with its volcanic craters, lava formations, small but nice sandy beaches, brilliant blue water, and many very interesting archaeological sites. It is an island that rose out of the ocean as a small rock formation that consisted of 3 volcanoes which after a number of eruptions, formed this very unique Pacific Island.

As you can see by the map all of the statues along the coastline that are still standing, face inwards.
There is only one place inland on the island where there are about 5 statues that  face outwards, rumor has it that these Moai are looking towards the sea and maybe facing the direction of where these people had originally came from !!!!

 This island is in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean.  Clear water, lava rock coastline with only one small beach and beautiful surfing waves, all day, every day.

Now this place is an island of sheer beauty like no where else and has a kind of strange mystical feel about it. Not many people get to see this place, as it is so far from anywhere, about 2000 miles 3200 kms off the coast of Chile, it is classed as one of the remotest places on earth, perfect.
It started out as three volcanic mountains emerging up out of the ocean. After they erupted, they poured lava out and this solidified to form the island that it is today. The main sites on Easter Island are the Moai or statues which there are as of today still about 40 or so still standing and scattered all over the coastline. At the edge of the only town of Hanga Roa, you can take a stroll up to the nearby volcano and if your game enough, which I did,  you can climb over the rails and slide your way down to the lake at the base of the massive crater left behind.

The sunsets were mind blowing.

The story I heard about the origin of these people is an interesting theory as there are many such theories as to how these people first got here so long ago.

It is said that a very important son of a big colony of people who lived over in the Pacific Islands area, had a fallout with his family and he left with a group of his own people and sailed off to start another life. He sailed into Easter Island and decided that this place would be the new life for his people, he sailed back to his home and bought over a lot moreof his own  people to this island. The thing is, when you look at the position of Easter Island  to where he sailed from, not only did he sail over 3000 miles of ocean the first time, but he went back and once again returned safely, with nothing but the stars to guide him, that is one hell of an adventure in itself. It is said that each trip would have taken at least a couple of months duration.
It is told that the future of these people ceased when the different tribes started to have conflicts over things like food and other matters, it is known that when all of the trees were cut down and used for varies reasons, food became scarce as the soil was lost to soil erosion, this in turn caused a lack of crops which started the friction which actually lead to a war between themselves and their final fate.
As you fly into the airport, you can see this small green, not very mountainous piece of land, the sea surrounding it is pure, clean Pacific Ocean, there is no polluted waters out here, it is a world on its own. The airport is small and easy enough to catch a ride into town, I managed to get a hostel mini-bus straight to my home for the next week or so. After booking in, I was off down the quiet areas of the town for a look at the ocean and the information shops, there is a lot to see here, the Moai, lots of walks and a few volcanoes to visit. First stop was the beach, which was rocks, lots of rocks and no sand, but the waves were amazing, great for the surfers, locals and vistors, some who come here just for the surfing.
Day 2,  I  hired a quad bike for the day to see, not only the sites of the standing Moai, but also the area of another crater that was the site of where the local craftsman basically chiselled out the statues from the solid lava rock into what you see standing upright today, they were stood upright on these platforms which they call Ahu or flat raised alters.
At the place where the carving work was done, there are still remains of half finished  Moai and empty hollow pits, where these moai were somehow lifted out and moved from this place to the different sites all over the island.

 When you stand right up close to each Moai you can see that they all have distinct features and it makes you think, who each one was and what their reason for being put there was. It’s amazing as these statues are up to 11 metres tall and some weight up to 100 tonnes each. Another fascinating scene is to see some of the Moai that have been pushed over in one of the many tribal wars of the past that have been partial buried because of the massive erosion, in some cases all that you can see is the head lying on the side of a hill or sticking out of the ground in a small valley.

This is one of those times when I just sit down on my own and look around me. Here is a place of mystery in that so many things about these people are not known for certain. When I sat here and looked at the remains of these massive statues, it gets me thinking, what it would have been like to be here when all of this was being done, things like how long did it take to shape a figure, how many persons worked on each one, was it a group effort or just given to one person to build, who were they trying to represent in their work of art. Are these figures made after a death, or are they made just as ceremorial reason, a gift to the Gods????????? When the Moai were finished what sort of cemerony was held to take the staues to their place of rest, all of these things go through my mind as I sit here, and this is why I love seeing these places of beauty and the unknown, not only did they live in paradise, they lived in a very different world to me, I guess with me I wished I lived in times like this when people were I hope much closer together, they lived their lives in a simple but maybe religious manner. They had amazing ways to use the things that they had, like fish bones, basic tools, cooking utensils that were made from shells, clay baked pots, beads, body jewellery that we now try to imitate, it may have been a simple life but it had lots of value to it.
The entire coastline is filled with small bays with crystal clear water and every where you look you can see some of the best surfing waves I have ever seen. There is only one small beach on the whole island while the rest of the coastline is literally black lava rock, right down into the sea and this makes it very rugged, but  so beautiful on a clear day. I was lucky one day to have walked to one of these isolated little bays and saw three turtles lazily swimming around close to the shore, I couldn’t help myself  and dived in and managed to rub the shell of one green turtle as he swam past me, it was awesome to be so close to them in such clear water.
Easter Island is a place worth seeing for its mystical Moai, beautiful landscape, and its unusual past history; it’s as intriguing a place to visit as is Egypt but in a different setting.
A strange ending to an amazing Culture.

I arrived in San Diego, Chile at the end of March.
The plan had been, to get to Chile just before the bike arrived by ship. I wanted to meet the shipping agent and get the paperwork sorted out as quickly as possible before the bike arrived.