Sat 16.05.15

 

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Landed at Mataveri International airport on Tuesday 12.05.15.

Wednesday was spent resting, (changing time zones play havoc with ones sleeping patterns). Thursday and Friday were days for two short tours in and around the area of Hanga Roa, the main town.

Got up early, and was reward

Got up early, and was rewarded

Completed an ‘all day’ tour today around the SE to NE side of the island. Starting at the Hanga Pokura archeological site half way down the SE seaboard. Here, as at many other sites statues had been toppled by the Rapa Nui people them selves. It seems, due to factional fighting and intertribal raiding parties. Further up the eastern seaboard, we visited the quarry area, where these statues were hued from the strata and were in various stages of completion. It must have been very difficult and tiresome work as they appear to have had no access to sophisticated tools. Basically carving out the rock with denser rock like obsidian.

Stoic & steadfast witnesses to the past

Stoic & steadfast witnesses to the past

The scale of both work and the finished sculptures is truly monumental and one can only wonder at the difficulty and determination that the people exhibited in order to complete the task. One needs to bear in mind that the embryonic population was believed to have arrived in the 13th Century from the Marquesas’ and only survived until the 1850’s. Surprisingly little is known about the people or how they sustained themselves. A lot of the information deduced is nothing more than conjecture arrived at by the scientific community. The documented permanent population is 4200(2011) and there are thereabouts 40000 visitors to the island a year. Self evidently, tourism is the major economic driver, which is burgeoning.

Sunday 17.05.15 Though not particularly religious one went to the local Catholic church to hear the service and enjoy the singing. Though good, the singing was not in the same class as one had experienced on other islands along our Pacific transit. An abiding memory was the singing/hospitality at the Weslyan Chapel in the Cook Islands (Rarotonga) with base, alto and tenor harmonies. The congregation in the main church of the Vava’u island group, Tonga was also exemplary. Will be flying out to Santiago in mainland Chile on Wednesday 20.05.15.

Sculpted in the quarry ready for transportation.

Sculpted in the quarry ready for transportation.

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