Posted by: catamarantwooceans | May 9, 2017

Easter Island

24.4.17 – Monday – When we spoke to the Chilean navy on the approach to the island, we asked about the local time. We kept u.t.c minus 7 and were surprised to hear that the local time was u.t.c minus 5; we moved our watches two hours forward. I was expecting the authorities to come to the boat but Pasqua Radio operator told us to come over to their office to complete the entrance procedure. My information regarding the entrance to the Hanga Roa boat basin was that it was problematic due to  breaking waves and there was even a recommendation to arrange for a local fisherman to take you ashore. We had a sketch of the place from a publication by s/v Migrations and comparing it to what we were seeing in front of us we thought we could do it with our dinghy.

The basin had a system facilitating the tying up of the pangas belonging to the local dive clubs and also the yachts’ dinghies. A rope goes from one side of the  basin to the other and from it ropes go to the dock.

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We went ashore and looked for the Navy (Armada) facility, to which the immigrations would come to check us in. The navy people were very welcoming, gave us a lot of information plus a printout of the weather forecast. We also received a page of Rules and Limitations we were supposed to adhere to; some of them were draconian, you cannot take any garbage ashore, one of the crew should always stay on board and so on. Once all the forms were filled and the passports stamped, I had to go back to the boat to receive a visit by the customs and agriculture department representatives. After they had gone, I snorkeled to check the anchor and was dismayed to see that we anchored on coral. We anchored in line with three other yachts and the Armada man told us the place was O.K, obviously it was not but for the time we stayed put.

After more than two weeks at sea we were eager to have a restaurant dinner but looking at the wave situation in the pass to the boat basin I decided we were not going ashore at night. We could have an early dinner and go back with daylight.

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25.4.17 – Tuesday – Danny and I went ashore leaving Zulu to guard ship. The first item on the agenda was trying to repair the starboard alternator. We went to the Oceanic garage, where the alternator was dismantled and checked. Initially the electrician said the stator was burnt and that there was no replacement to be found on the island. Later he said he would try cleaning it with some paste he had; “let it dry for two hours and try it, maybe it’ll work”. I asked Ian, the manager, how much I owed them and he said it was free. Thanks Ian!

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After leaving the heavy alternator in the dinghy we continued walking through the town, reaching the small Hanga Piko fisherman port. I wanted to check whether we could come in there and get water, which we needed urgently.  Before embarking on this voyage, during the research I did, I saw a video on Youtube in which a yacht tried to enter and was thrown on the rocks by a big wave. Approaching the port, we saw a yacht lying on its side near the entrance, with a painting of a shark on the starboard topside. The name on it was “La Rose” and I am quite sure it was the one I watched the sad destruction of on the web.

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Going back to town we did some shopping and returned to the Hanga Roa boat basin. I approached the Orca diving club, hoping to arrange the delivery of water to our boat. Michel, the manager, told me we could take fresh water from their pipe for no cost but he did not have any jerry-cans to enable bringing the quantity we wanted. I’ll try and find somebody else. He gently scolded me about my anchoring point over coral and I promised to move. Once back on the boat we started up and changed position to a sandy patch with good holding; the depth was 18 meters, so I put out two anchors in tandem.

There were three more boats in the anchorage. One was “Explorer” which I met in Ecuador; they had arrived yesterday evening, which seemed very strange to me, as they left Ecuador on March 24th. I saw Morten on shore and he told me that they had an intermediate stay break two weeks after departure and that he sailed to an area with calmer seas (?) before replacing it and continuing to Easter Island. Another cat that came in a bit after us was a 16 meters long Wharram Pahi named Pakia Tea, with Tom, Sonia and five years old Keano. The fourth boat was here before we came, it was an aluminum monohull called “Kalibu” with Thomas, wife and two kids.

26.4.17 – Wednesday – Thinking about the limitations set by the local “Armada” and especially about the watch keeping man on the boat at all times I decided to apply some flexibility to make our live on the island bearable. In the morning we rented a car from Oceanic on main street (almost everything is on main street), a small Suzuki 4×4 and set out to discover the wonders of Easter Island. The explanations regarding the unique statutes – Moai – on the island, who made them, who toppled them, how were they put in position etc. are, in my humble opinion speculative and do not rely on concrete historical evidence. They are, however, very, very impressive. The first site we visited was Vinapu, which is also a recommended anchoring spot when the winds blow from the north or west. There I saw the stone-wall in the following picture.

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                                             Vinapu stone wall

Now look at the picture taken in Peru:

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                                        Inca stone wall

I think the resemblance is incredible and some of the publications we saw point at a possible contact between the two cultures.

The next and perhaps the main attraction on the island was Rano Raraku, an extinct volcano, thought to be the quarry where the Moai were made.

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                                 The small dots on the left are Moai

There are hundreds of them in the crater and on the mountain slopes, some lying broken on the ground and some in the early stage of “production”. We started by climbing to the crater, in which there is a lake surrounded by reeds, not unlike those seen in Egypt or lake Titicaca. Next we walked the slope, in awe of the many Moai.

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Next was Tongariki, situated on shore of Hutuiti bay, which is another of the north to west winds anchorages. This site was renovated with the help of the Japanese government, Moais re-erected in a long, impressive line.

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                           Tongariki detail

We continued to other sites the last of which was Anakena, a bay suitable for winds from the west counterclockwise to the south-east. This bay has a sandy beach,coconut palms and a few restaurants and bars for tourists. We had planned on going there one day, not yet specified. It was already three p.m, we decided to continue our tour next day, visit some attractions on the western part of the island.

To be continued…


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