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Day 7/8 - Self Touring Easter Island

Hanga Roa, Chile

We rented an ATV for the day to putt around the island and check out sites we missed on the full day tour. We headed up one of the 3 volcanos on the island - Rano Kau. The volcanos are where much of the island's rain water is collected. What was a little shocking to us was what they DO in these volcanos. They FUMIGATE the suckers every year! This controls the mosquito population but man, talk about scorched earth policy. Still I guess our lack of bites was rather nice.

On top of the volcano is the village of Orongo. This village was built by the second settlers (short-ears) and contains like 21 rock houses which were used by the leaders of all the villages and only used for spiritual purposes. Every year they come up to this spot and watch a sea-bird come to the smaller islands viewable from the village to nest. These people then wait for the bird to lay eggs. Then it becomes an egg hunt. Yeah, you got it, an egg hunt on freakin EASTER ISLAND. The person who finds the egg becomes the new leader. These "bird-men" lived from the 17th century to the 18th. I still can't get over the "egg hunt" happening on the island which was discovered on Easter Sunday. It's wonderful.

We got back down and checked out the museum and learned a bit more about the history of this place. They also have one of 2 FEMALE Moai's which are much thinner and elongated than the classical Easter Island carvings. Very cool.

We then headed for the "7". In Ahu Akivi there are 7 Moai's which do not face their village but instead face the ocean! Why? Well, the king of some island in Polynesia was running out of food so he sent 7 of his mariners out to find new land to settle. The fruits of their labour was Rapa Nui and to commemorate their efforts, when the king arrived on the island to settle it, he had 7 Moai's carved in their honour, facing the sea. These are the ONLY 7 that face the sea.

We spent the rest of the day exploring and getting our clothes covered in the red dust that is Rapa Nui's dirt :)

We left Rapa Nui on day 8 and this is just a snap of the japanese place we had dinner at on Day 7. It was overpriced but it was pretty tasty.

permalink written by  yungwesl on January 13, 2009 from Hanga Roa, Chile
from the travel blog: Sandy and Wes in South America
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