Let me take you on a trip..around Easter Island, here are our highlights:
This magnificent volcanic crater is filled with fresh water and a huge amount of native trees and plants grow on the steep sides. From the top you can see the whole island that is just 15 miles long by 8 miles wide.
Next to the crater is the ORongo ceremonial village which has been reconstructed to show how islanders lived on of this windy outcrop in slate round huts.
At this site the spring Birdman ritual was celebrated. Brave strong men would be chosen by the tribal chiefs to climb down the cliffs, swim to the nearby rocky islet to retrieve the first seabirds laid egg. They strapped the egg to their heads, swam back on surfboard style rafts, climbed back up the cliffs and bestowed the Birdman honour to his chief. Extreme Olympics!
This ceremonial complex was just a five-minute walk from our B&B and had a wonderful mystical feel to it. We hoped for a fabulous sunset behind the three Moai altars but unfortunately we had too many clouds. The Ahu platforms the Moai stand on are ceremonial shrines, it’s forbidden or tapu to walk on them.
It’s a great place to sit and enjoy the view. The large statue of Ko Te Riku is the only restored Moai on the island with white coral eyes and red scoria pupils. He has a grand red topknot to complete his majestic look. All of the statues on the island before the tribal wars would have looked like this.
Ahu A kivi
These seven Moai are located towards the centre on the island and have a view out towards the sea. They were reconstructed by archeologists but have astronomical positioning. As they are all in symmetry they look pretty cool from the side, one becomes seven as you walk around them.
At this platform the rock has been carved to form a smooth flat wall where the pieces fit perfectly together. This is similar to how the Inca built the city of Cusco, adding more mystery to who actually travelled to this remote island. Many islanders were forced into slavery by travelling sailors from Peru. All the Maui here have been toppled and remain face down.
This is the place you see in all the National Geographic magazine cover shots and it’s completely fantastic, I loved it here. In this volcano cone-shaped quarry, the soft compacted volcanic ash was used to carve all the 900 statues on the island.
Each statue was carved using only other handstones from one piece of rock and then they were moved to various platforms around the island. They estimate it took a year for each Moai to be carved.
At Rano Raraku there are some 400 heads in various stages of creation. It’s here that archeologists uncovered that the heads have bodies buried in the hillside, some are up to 10 meters long. The mystery of how these huge statues were actually moved can only be speculated. But once the trees were all chopped down, there were no more truncks to maneuver the statues on and no more rope could be made to lever the statues into position.
All around the ‘workshop’ there are abandoned Moai that never made it to their final destination.
This is one of the most impressive array of Moai on the island. There are 15 statues standing on the largest platform on the island.
Tsunami and earthquakes scattered the statues over time but the figures were reconstructed with help and money from the Japanese after an exposition in Osaka and are affectionately called the ‘Japanese Moai’. At this site you can walk behind the Moai and see the cut markings on the round backs of the statues and from behind it’s incredible to view these
ceremonial figures looking inwards. These Moai ancestors would be worshipped and are thought to generate mana – a prestige, power or a kind of mystical force over the land and its people.
This site gave me a feeling of peace as if entering a beautiful Cathedral. It’s incredible that humankind around the world no matter how remote they are, all have their own God’s, their own religions and different ways of worshipping.
Most of the island has dramatic cliffs with aqua colour foamy waves bashing up over the rocks and rocky fields but then you arrive at Anakena and you’re transported onto a Polynesian stunning beach!
It’s like a different place entirely. The beach has soft white coral sand, turquoise warm waters lap gently and the platform of the funky smaller size Nau Nau statues back to the sea facing the sun.
Mysterious, magical and dramatic, Rapa Nui certainly made its mark on me. I loved our trip.