Visiting Easter Island (Boat-Based)

A Perilous Getaway To Hanga Roa (continued)

A gray and blustery day at Hanga Roa.  

As Nine of Cups motored to Hanga Roa, Marcie rejoined the watch and I went off-watch and to bed. Along the way, David made another snubber, this one carefully constructed. He also temporarily disconnected the damaged chain stopper; for now we'll use a rope to secure the chain to a mooring cleat. In mid-morning, we motored up to Hanga Roa and into the anchorage, Marcie at the bow and David at the helm. Reaching "our spot", David nudged the transmission into reverse to park the boat and shouted, "Now!"; Marcie shoved the big Bruce off the bow roller and the chain went rattling after it. Frankly, it felt really, really good to be anchored safely with our anchoring gear reasonably intact. As an added plus, upon anchoring in Hanga Roa, we had completed a full circumnavigation of Easter Island. It's hardly a vast distance (perhaps all of 50 miles), but there's something neat about closing the loop: starting from a particular spot, following the coastline of an island (large or small), then winding up back where you started from.

The rest of the day was gusty and squally (15 to 25+ knots) and a little brisk; the wind worked its way around to south-southeast. This is still a tolerable direction, meaning it would blow us away from the island if the anchor dragged. We stayed on the boat and did chores; not only was it too choppy to dinghy ashore, it was also Sunday and everything on the island was closed (except for the churches). We cleaned up the boat, then I did a few chores. I fixed a broken hatch dog by replacing a pop rivet, then I fixed a broken handhold by installing a bigger screw. This sounds like five minutes of work but it took a couple of hours due to all the usual complications with boat gear, tools, and supplies.

Marcie made hummus from scratch for our afternoon snack, but in the evening nobody was very hungry for dinner. Instead of something fancy, we just had bread and peanut butter, but that's all we wanted, it wasn't the cook going on strike.

The Armada called us on the radio and asked us to use our radar to determine our distance from shore (which turned out to be 1/4 mile). This was a curious request and we didn't know what to make of it. Once we called back and reported the distance, the Armada radio operator explained that a Chilean naval vessel would be visiting the island tomorrow, and they wanted to know where we were located.

Later at night, I saw the Lan Chile jumbo jet floating down from out of the sky on a long final approach, its two big landing lights blazing in the darkness like two big bug eyes.

Frankly, it would be nice to have a genuinely pleasant day, one with no cares or concerns. But such a day seems rather rare on Easter Island, especially for a cruiser, and especially since it is heading into their winter. Storms and brisk winds can work their way farther north in the winter and can affect us in these latitudes. This also might make for a more spirited ride back to the mainland, coming up soon. We shall see.

All's well that ends well.  

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