• Assunta French

Easter Island

What a place Easter Island is! If you are ever unsure of where to go next, or wanting to add to your bucket list then Easter Island is the place for you! Our ship was doing the Atlantic crossing from Ft. Lauderdale to Sydney, it was a 35 day cruise with 10 port days including this magical and incredible place! We were so fortunate we could dock as four out of the eight times our ship had only docked at Eater Island over the years due to the rough seas and swells which you can defiantly understand once you are looking out over the cliffs. The people of the island are so friendly and welcoming, and as I was with a small group of people from South America who spoke Spanish we managed to get a private tour and a great deal...it was also mentioned (as a joke) that they would swap me for a cow as most of the people living on the island are family. We were then off in the car to start exploring this mysterious, magical and incredible Island. Easter Island has to be one of the most fascinating places on earth, it's one of the most isolated and mysterious islands in the world and it's famous for those gigantic stone statues that are known as Moai that are always found facing inwards (away from the water). These statues can be found all over the island in different stages of completion they are carved from hard Rano Raraku Volcanic stone during A.D. 1100 and 1500 by ancient Polynesians (the island is full of inactive volcanos). These Moai statues average in height of 4.42 meters and weigh about 14,000 kilos with some Moai statutes reaching 10.16 meters and weighing 80,000 kilos! Some of these statues can be seen wearing a red volcanic stone "hat" and in fact due to their height and weight no one really knows how they were moved into position and it's most commonly thought that they had to be wheeled (by a man-made sleigh) by 50 -100 people. There is such mystery surrounding the Moai Statutes as no one knows exactly what they were carved for and how they were carved, there are many theories as to as to why these statues were carved but the most commonly accepted theory and what locals believe is that they are thought to represent an important tribal member who has passed away and a statue was carved in their honour. The statues have also been used for religious purposes due to the ancient Polynesian religion that any carved wood or stone was believed to have a magical spiritual essence called mana (a supernatural force/ power which maybe attributed to a persons, spirits or intimate objects) and this may have been why the statues were made as they had a similar purpose for the Moai.statues with signEaster Island also known as Rapa Nui is a Chilean Island located in the Pacific Ocean roughly 3,600 kilometres away from the Chilean coast. Chile actually owns the island and most of the money paid to visit the National Parks goes back to Chile. The island was named Easter Island after being discovered by a Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen on Easter Sunday in 1722. When the Europeans first arrived on Easter Island the population was roughly between 2,000-3,000, after dropping down from 15,000 due to the introduction of the Polynesian rat that lead to a deforestation that hurt the eco-system thus their way of life, then there was the European diseases and slave raiding by the Peruvian during the 1860's which reduced the population even further. Nowadays the population is roughly 5,800 with 60% being of descendants of the native Rapa Nui. Also, interestingly until 1860 the Napu Nui people practiced Tangata Manu which was part of the Birdman cult that practiced as an annual ritual that involved men diving of the deadly cliff of Orongo to swim to Motu Nui (a small inlet across Easter Island) to wait for the return of the Tern (a seabird) and steal its first egg of the season and then swim back safely to Orongo in order to win the crown for the elder who would be the leader for the year ahead. As easy as this sounds (in theory) most competitors would die from shark attacks and even the fall itself! Orongo is a stone village and was a ceremonial sight for the Birdmand cult, and the village was only used a few days a year when the annual ritual was performed. The village consists of low, windowless stone made houses which are located at the end of the volacno Rano Kau looking out towards the sea. The houses were only used for sleeping as the activities were performed during the day. Easter Island has to be one of the most isolated places in the world with such rich and mysterious history surrounding it, that the island needs to be visited and explored, if you only have a day you must see the Moai, and National Park in Orongo but if you are planning to be there for a few days then go snorkeling, diving, surfing and even walking and exploring this beautifully isolated island that will leave you in awe and with unforgettable memories...if you are fortunate to visit! AF xo

#Travel #EastIsland #Mysterious #Explore



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