Mysterious Moais

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

After 8 months we finally left the South American mainland and flew 3,500km west to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), one of the most isolated places on earth. We arrived to blue skies and sunshine, a lovely change from the cold and snow of the last 2 months. The most distinctive aspect of the island here are the huge stone 'moai' which stand at various locations around the coastline. They were carved out of the volcanic rocks and then somehow transported to where the people thought they would 'protect' their villages from the sea. Lots of them are still standing, as many as fifteen in a row, and are mainly around 7 metres tall although some giants are 21metres!! They make a wonderful sight, especially with the sun setting in the Pacific Ocean behind them. We saw the most spectacular 'moai' on a day when we hired a jeep and toured the island.. in the North there is a lovely beach 'Anakena' where there were wild horses running around too. The moai here were really well preserved, complete with polynesian tattoos and 'top knots'. We also hired bicycles for a day and cycled up one of the volcanoes which had a big crater, complete with lake at the top. Behind the crater were some spectacular cliffs and a well-preserved ancient village with houses built into the hillside. The ancient villagers competed here to be 'Birdman of the Year' where the men climbed down the cliffs and then sailed out on rafts to a nearby island. The winner was the first to collect a birds egg and successfully return to the village. We have had a lovely 5days here and later today fly to Tahiti where we hope to spend a few more days relaxing on the beaches...
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