Visiting Easter Island (Boat-Based)

Visiting Hotu Iti (continued)

David bailing rainwater out of the dinghy before going ashore at Hotu Iti.   Looking towards the head of the cove where the swell finally breaks close to shore. Those are some pretty big breaking waves.

Another view of Ahu Tongariki.   A rain shower passing through Hotu Iti.

Saturday, May 22, 2004 (Day 10 at Easter Island)

Today dawned very gray after a night of wind and rain. Despite the inclement weather, the anchor held just fine—I poked my head up topsides and we were right on our shoreside marks. By late morning, the wind started to shift towards the west and it showed signs of clearing. The rain stopped and the overcast thinned to broken clouds showing patches of blue sky.

Conditions looked promising so David quickly began preparing the dinghy for a shore visit. We still weren't sure we could land the dinghy since the entire visible coastline consisted of jagged rocks and crashing surf. However, there was supposed to be a small-boat landing at the head of the cove but it was out of sight around a point of land. Due to the rain the dinghy had to be bailed, then the flabby air tubes inflated, then various gear loaded, etc.

Finally Marcie and David climbed in and motored away; I watched them in the binoculars as they motored shoreward through the several-foot non-breaking swell. Here at Hotu Iti, the swell only breaks at the last instant as the waves reach shore, unlike the very troublesome swell at Hanga Roa that breaks before it gets to the harbor entrance, then frequently breaks again in the entrance channel. They tarried at the head of the cove and I could see them watching how the swell behaved in the landing nook. Finally, they motored in and a few minutes later called on the radio to report they were safely moored and that the swell wasn't any problem in the landing area.

From what they later told me, they walked over to Ahu Tongariki and took some pictures of the 15 moai, then followed a trail that went up the big eroded volcano where the moai quarry was located (Rano Raraku). There were numerous moai scattered about on the flanks of the volcano, some standing up, some lying down in various stages of completion. Some unfinished moai were still attached to the volcanic bedrock inside the quarry.

Meanwhile, I tended to Nine of Cups. The weather started to change, the wind shifting further to the west, heading towards southwest. It clouded up again and a squall passed over increasing the winds and dumping some rain. Unfortunately, this was just when Marcie and David were walking back from the moai quarry. They dinghied back to Nine of Cups and arrived safe and sound but soggy.

Marcie and David had visited the quarry somewhat hurriedly and had returned in mid-afternoon. The idea was that if the weather held, there would still be time for me to go ashore and visit the quarry. However, the deteriorating weather put an end to those plans. Instead, we unloaded the dinghy and hoisted aboard the outboard motor. What to do now? With plenty of windgen power again, we decided to watch another movie. As before, the desired movie wouldn't play, so we watched another movie first, one that had Jeff and Lloyd Bridges working in the Boston bomb squad. It was a decent movie, entertaining if a little predictable.


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