EASTER ISLAND Date: 9th February
Weather: Mixed, Sunny & clear most of the day, then overcast, clearing to give a fine evening.
I don`t know really how to start this blog, I`d like to try and give you some information of the history of the place. ( This information is not only for you, but for myself, when we`re at home, retracing our journey)
During our trip, there had been a lecture on the island which we attended, but it looks like we didn`t retain that information, well not all of it in any case!. The island was discovered I think by a Portuguese explorer at Easter and this gave it the name , in the 1500s. Having now seen the island from our ship, it was a surprise the way it looked, it was more a pasture type of landscape, hills with coppices on them, green pastures and small farm homesteads. One fellow passenger said he expected a more tropical looking island, with coconut palms and sandy beaches. But it is famous for its giant stone statues from an ancient peoples, probably Polynesian , as they had a great history of travel and settlement in this part of the world. We had just sailed from South America, steaming quite hard for 4 days, which meant about 2,000 miles plus, and during those days we were aware of how vast the Pacific Ocean is. I think I saw one bird during that time at sea, so you can only admire these ancient people who inhabited the island, and wonder how they got there!!.
The stone figures which this island is famous for, are several metres high, and were quarried from one of the hills and carved in a horizontal position,( they know this as there is still one in that position) then levered from the rock, moved to their final resting place, then put in the vertical position. The placement of these statues is a mystery , mostly they are individuals in no particular pattern , but one group 15 in number, which stand right on the water`s edge, they think must be at a meeting place, or religious site, as for the individuals they don`t know. In the group of 15, there are several different carvings, by that I mean some have hats, different face shapes etc., again people are just guessing what these carvings mean. Another big question is How did they move them? They think in days gone by the island was covered with more trees, and maybe they used the logs from trees as rollers. So there are a lot of hypothetical questions connected to their history, why did these people disappear? In the early days of exploration different explores had recorded what they had seen on the island, and there seemed to be a gradual decrease in their numbers over the years. Why did they leave such a lush place, with all their idols or gods there?
So I think some homework needs to be done !
But for us it was a great sail pass, and to think we had been so close to one of the worlds famous places was great.
PS. We didn`t get as close to the shore as we`d hoped, we were about 2 miles off, so we didn`t get a close up view of the statues, as you will see in the photos.