Visiting Easter Island (Boat-Based)

Visiting Hanga Roa

Marcie and David dinghy ashore to visit Hanga Roa.

Thursday, May 13, 2004 (Day 1 at Easter Island)

In the last section, I told you about our arrival at Easter Island after 19 days at sea, anchoring at Hanga Roa, and checking-in with the Chilean authorities. Once formalities were completed, we were free to explore the island, but with an important proviso: the boat must always be manned.

The three of us discussed visiting arrangements and David offered to let me go ashore with Marcie. I had been eyeing the rough swell crashing ashore and I could see occasional breaking waves rolling through the shallows leading up to the harbor entrance. Believe it or not, there was a surfer wearing a wet suit who was riding some of the waves right up to the harbor entrance. I wound up chickening out so instead Marcie and David will go ashore and report back by radio the conditions they encounter.

There were the usual chores to prepare and launch the dinghy, then they motored away from Nine of Cups. I followed their progress using binoculars, and the swell looked rather alarming—I could see the broad backs of breaking waves rolling towards the harbor, with the little dinghy appearing very close. However, that was mostly an illusion due to the compressed sense of distance when using the binoculars. Before leaving, David had closely watched the waves to figure out the location and timing of breaking waves, and he navigated an indirect route that avoided any trouble. Once the dinghy entered the harbor channel it was out-of-view, but Marcie shortly called on the radio and reported they were safely ashore—apparently the breaking waves looked bad but they could be avoided. Meanwhile, I washed the decks and tidied up the topsides.

After a while, Marcie and David returned with some provisions, but unfortunately most of the stores had been closed for midday break. By the time the stores reopen, we won't have enough time to go ashore and return before dark, so shopping visits for us will have to be "mornings only". They had done a little exploring and Marcie had taken some pictures, so she gave me a slide show on her computer to fill me in on the attractions.

Later that evening, Marcie made "cheeseburgers in paradise" for our first dinner on Easter Island, but they hadn't been able to find any hamburger rolls or even sliced bread. Instead, the islanders seem to use small bread rolls that are like bagels but without the hole in the middle.

Looking ashore at the green rolling volcanic terrain near Hanga Roa.   We could see these moai from the boat; they are in a park just north of Hanga Roa. This is a ceremonial center that has three ahu, from left to right Kote Riku, Tahai, and Vai Uri (which has several moai).

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