Visiting Easter Island (Boat-Based)

Anakena Walkabout

A couple of horses grazing ashore. In the right-hand picture, you can see part of Nine of Cups' mast.

Sunday, May 16, 2004 (Day 4 at Easter Island)

This morning started out slowly with no specific agenda. David taped and sanded some teak topside trim then started laying down coats of varnish. All the topsides teak had been completely refinished back at the boatyard in Ecuador, but the quality of the materials and workmanship were not as good as represented. I did some chores like doing a quickie lube of the primary winches. I found a problem in one winch where the spindle retainers had come out, allowing the spindle to drop into the winch too far. A plastic retaining ring had been installed in the wrong location. The self-tailer attachment screws were loose, too. I had more work to do, such as lubing other moving parts of the rigging, but I felt like going ashore and walking around. David took a break from his varnishing and kindly gave me a lift to shore.

Once I got ashore, I walked uphill from the beach, through the campground, and out to the dirt access road, then followed the road for a while without knowing where it would go. I was hoping it would lead me close to one of the nearby hills so I could climb to the top for a good view. Also, one of the hills seemed to have a hole in the side that might be a cave, which would be interesting to check out. Walking along the road, I noticed flecks of obsidian embedded in the dirt and I stopped to pick up a few little pieces. Walking farther, I saw a rough overgrown 4WD (four-wheel drive) track heading off to the left, just past some big mud puddles in the road, and I started following the 4WD track. It looked like the track might lead to another hill, but it bypassed the hill and headed towards the cliffs along the shore. I didn't see any trail from the track to the hill and I didn't feel like walking through the knee-high grass, so I kept following the 4WD track.

Before I reached the cliffs, I saw some gullies off to the right and walked over to take a look. There had been a lot of erosion and the reddish clayey soil that had washed away had fanned out across the surface like a miniature river delta. The soil had dried with various textures—smooth soil graded by coarseness, lumpy bumps of earth and stones, crazed cracks running through fine silt, etc. There were tussocks of grass and bowling-ball-size volcanic rocks scattered about. I found many pieces of obsidian, some nearly hand size but mostly quarter to half-dollar size. After collecting a few pieces, I resumed walking along the track but stopped again to take pictures of a couple of tawny brown horses that were grazing contentedly near the cliffs. I saw other horses grazing on one of the hills in the distance.


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