When you live on a boat, you have to have a high level of respect for Mother Nature. She can deliver some of the most breathtaking and inspiring views while at the same time sending dangerous and frightening weather. The anchorage presented us with many gorgeous sunsets
Sunsets at Easter Island
After the 2nd night, we woke up to really rolly and uncomfortable conditions. We were still at anchor, but it was awful. The supply ship had already left, but the National Geographic ship was loading passengers (or at least trying). The port captain hailed each of the 10 sailboats on the VHF. They told us that the port would be closed for several days and that we should evacuate the anchorage. What? Crap!
Changing Anchorages to VinaPu
We all slowly made our way around the island to a more protected anchorage. The only problem with the new anchorage is that there is no easy way to get to shore. Shoot, there goes our island tour.
Not a particularly pretty anchorage either. This is where the fuel container ship comes to provide fuel to the island. So, we looked at huge fuel tanks on shore. We stayed here overnight and decided we needed to go ashore the next day. Lots to do: provision, get gasoline, and clear out of the country as our visas were expiring. We found a semi protected area near a platform with a ladder. We tossed out a stern anchor and crawled our way to shore. Managing to stay mostly dry.
Luckily, we were able to get everything done that we needed. But, because the port was closed and access to shore was challenging, we decided to leave a day early. Much to my disappointment. We did not get to see the largest MOAI or the largest grouping of MOAI (15). But what we did see, we loved. This is a spectacular island!
The moai are a mystery because there are so many different variations to their origins and the reasoning behind their creation, location, and destruction. Many stories mention dissent among the people, lots of fighting and a very disruptive society.
However, based on a new study, the history has proven to be very different. This study painted a new picture of a new sophisticate and collaborative society based on excavations four of the statues and the volcanic stone basalt tools used to carve them. It is now believed that the full body, 13-ton monuments represent important Rapa Nui ancestors. There are over 900 statues, many buried up to their heads due to the passage of time. The largest statue is over 70’ tall. Just admiring the sheer size and number is indicative of a complex, sophisticated society.
Ancient Rapa Nui had chiefs, priests, and guilds of workers who fished, farmed, and made the moai. There was a certain level of sociopolitical organization that was needed to carve almost a thousand statues.
Rapa Nui’s mysterious statues stand in silence but speak volumes about the achievements of their creators. The stone blocks carved into head-and-torso figures, average 13 feet (4 meters) tall and 14 tons. The effort to construct these monuments and move them around the island must have been considerable. Even though, most scholars now suspect that they were created to honor important personages, it’s impossible to be certain. Primarily because there is no written and little oral history exists on the island, so it’s impossible to be certain.
How did they build and move these giant monuments?
The MOAI was outlined on the rock, a slow chiseling process.
From the outline, they carved the MOAI out of the rock. The left a “heal” on its back, keeping a connection to the bed-rock.
The keel is removed, and the MOAI is slid down the slope using a multitude of round trees or rocks.
The MOAI is then placed in a pt so that the carving of its back can be finished.
MOAI Carving from Museum
We visited the MAPSE Museo Rapanui museum which was free and fairly easy to find. They had pieces of MOAI along with ancient artifacts. We discovered that of the hundreds of MOAI, less than 10 were female. One of the female MOAI is at the museum (top right photos)
With so many MOAI to see it will be hard to get it all in during our short stay, but I promise you we will try!
There is a lot to see on this small island named after the famous storybook legend, Robinson Crusoe. This blog is dedicated to the highlights of our adventures.
Alejandro Selkirk walked barefoot for two hours each day to reach a look out that gave him views of a great portion of the island. Here he would watch the horizon for ships to rescue him. There are two memorial plates of Selkirk’s adventure that can be found on this path. The first was left by officers from the British ship Topaza and the other by a direct descendant of the Scottish corsair.
We had a lovely guide who joined us on our exploration. About 15 minutes into our hike, a large, black, furry dog nuzzled my hand and took the lead. It was absolutely amazing. He showed us exactly where we needed to turn and which fork in the road to take. Crazy fellow would also wait if one of us lagged behind. Usually, I was lagging behind, having difficulties catching my breath. He would lead Matt up the path and if he did not see me coming behind him, he would come get me. Truly a sweet, good natured pup.
Selkirk’s Mirador Hike
About half way to the first monument, we came across remnants of Alejandro Selkirk’s house. He had one house in a cave facing the main bay and another more protected more inland. The second one is what we found on this trail. Basically, stones of the foundation, but the location was protected yet breezy. The last photo is the crazy dog digging for bugs.
Selkirk’s House Remnants
Finally. Reached 1st of 2 Mirador’s
We reached the first memorial just in time to take advantage of the gorgeous view and cool breeze.
First Mirador on hike
Another 45 minutes up the hill we reached the 2nd memorial which is where Alejandro would go each day in search of rescue ships. Amazing view of two sides of the island
Selkirk’s MIrador View of two bays
Along the path were wild blackberry plants. Matt had a field day picking and eating fresh berries. The top left photo is a picture of the bay where you can just barely see Sugar Shack. The bottom right photos shows you the location of the two memorials
More Amazing views from Selkirk’s Mirador
On the way back into town we stopped at a restaurant for cold beverages and learned this was the home of our tour guide.
We so badly wanted to visit Selkirk’s Cave. But alas it was not in the cards. The only way to access this cave is by boat and then up a craggy path. The tourist season on Robinson Crusoe island was December – February. We arrived the middle of March. So, no tourist boats to take us to the cave and it was a bit too far and too rolly for Sweetie.
FORTRESS OF SANTA BARBARA
Fortress of Santa Barbara is a national monument in the center of town. It defended the Spanish against pirates during the 18th century. There is a small piece of the original wall which stands strong and several cannons that remain.
CEMETERY OF THE ISLAND
I know it is weird, but I really enjoy visiting local cemeteries. The local island cemetery is very small, which is not surprising considering there are only 500 inhabitants. But the really interesting thing about this cemetery is that there are graves of some sailors from the Dresden as well as he Baron Alfredo de Rodt’s.
Cemetery and Fortress
Located next to the fortress are seven caves that were sad shelter for the patriots of the Chilean Independence. They were banished in 1814 to Robinson Crusoe and did not fare well in these caves. Some of the caves had enclaves for cooking, but most were nothing more than a massive hole in a rock.
Just above the rocky shore is a large volcanic wall. Embedded into this rock wall are four cannonballs that were fired during the Dresden attack.
Dresden Cannonball Attack
PLAZOLETA DEL YUNQUE
A beautiful and moderate hike took us to Plazoleta dely Yunque (little square). At this spot you can still see the remains of Hugo Weber’s home. Hugo was a sailor of the Dresden and hid from the rest of the world 12 years. He was later accused of being a member of a network of espionage of Canaris.
Plazoleta dely Yunque
A well built, wooden path is ust beyond the Plazoleta that leads you through the forest with lovely, endemic flora and fauna.
We really enjoyed our short visit to Robinson Crusoe. The island had great history, friendly inhabitants, and beautiful landscape. A wonderful stop in our travels.