CHILE: RAPA NUI - EASTER ISLAND
5 - 8 february 2001

 

 


 

I could not believe, I was finally crowning one of my great dreams, I had just been on the mythical Rapa Nui. At the airport exit I found to wait me Mrs Lucia, the owner of the pension Mahina Taka-Taka Georgia , she welcomed me with a necklace of flowers. The pension is found in the north zone of  Hanga Roa near by the site of Ahu Tahai; after had systematized me in the room I went immediately to visit it, the Moais of the site have been restored (as all the others stay up), in the site there is the only Moai  with the eyes considering that to all the other have been removed; I continued then to the village to make an idea of his disposition.

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In the late afternoon I started to meet the other guests of the pension, Adriana and Francisca from  Chile, Carina and Pancho from  Porto Rico and Mr. Robert from  Vancouver; with them I had a pleasant evening considering that Lucia had organized a party for his relatives that came to meet her and that she had not seen for 20 years. Among a glass and the other one of Chilean wine my new friends explaned me what had happened in the preceding days, with mine usual fortune I arrived the day after the end of the Tapati Rapa Nui, a festival that occurs each year the first days of February; my friends explained that the festival is also very characteristic above all because the Rapa Nui first of all organize it for themselves that for the tourists. 
The following morning after to be wakes me with still the posthumous of the drinks of the evening before I went to the bank to change some currency considering that in the afternoon is closed and immediately I returned to the pension for the breakfast. I started then the first tour of 1/2 day (in reality no more than 3 hours), we visited at first the site of Ahu Vinapu where further to some fallen Moais the base of the same can be noticed graven and square with amazing precision
vinapu.jpg (54547 byte) keeping in mind the period in which they have been realized and of the fact that the utensils used for carving were of the same type of rock (basalt); these so square stones have some similes with others that are found to Cuzco in the Perý, so much to let to some archaeologists to conclude of the south-Americans origins of the Rapa Nui. Other interesting things: a head of Moai turns over again on the wrong side in comparison to all the others and one of the few female Moais. We moved then to the crater of Puna Pau punapau.jpg (66789 byte), the quarry of the Pukaos, the red hats of the Moais, in reality these hats should represent red hair typical of the Rapa Nui of that period. 

 

We went then in one of the most spectacular sites: Ahu Akivi where 7 Moais are found akiviIO.jpg (65304 byte), the only turned toward the sea; in reality their function as for all the other was to look and to protect the ceremonial area and the village, the sea would casually be found in their visual field. The 7 Moais have been restored in 1960 and they have particularity to look straight at the dawning sun during the equinoxes. Before returning in country we stopped to Ana Te Pahu: a series of caves where because of the very fertile ground the cultivations easily and quickly grew and were used in case of emergency. 
In the afternoon I went to dive, in reality I was not very convinced,  instead was a beautiful experience, we crossed some canyons with 20-30 meters walls of  rock covered with coral really beautiful; the dive has me really thrilled and if I had had other time I would have done some others. Surely this is a sector a little exploited and that can have some big potentialities. I finished the day with a good dinner in a small restaurant that served good barbecued meat on big spit (like the Brazilian churrascarie). 
The second tour was absolutely the most interesting and spectacular; we started from Hanga Tee where is supposed was buried the first King of the island Ariki Hotu Matu'a. 

 

We reached then the extraordinary site of Ahu Tongariki: the greatest Ahu with 15 Moais in line ; the site was partially destroyed in 1960 by a seaquake, subsequently the greatest statues (the less damaged by the fury of the water) were restored even if now they are not found in the original position; interesting to notice that also with the help of a crane only on 1 Moais was succeeded in placing its Pukao, the hit of eye around 15 statues in line is absolutely spectacular.

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Just behind Tongariki Rano Raraku is found, the place where the Moais where made. The walk that brings until the top it is untied between ten and ten Moais; some ended but left along the way of the transport, others to finish up and some still attached to the mountain, among these, the greatest in absolute of around 20 meters for a weight esteemed of 150 tons.

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Copyright © 2001 Giuseppe Ruperto. All rights reserved.