Visiting Easter Island (Land-Based)

West Coast Scenery

At the southern end of Hanga Roa there's a small peninsula that contains the compound for the Armada de Chile; this is the main building.   In the same vicinity, swell was breaking heavily on the rocky coastline.

Saturday, June 12, 2004 (Day 3 Ashore)

I got a late start this morning. Over the usual good breakfast, I talked with Robert, who is a professor at a Polish university. His specialties are the anthropology of the South Pacific, plus Asian dance, especially Japanese dance. He is just finishing writing a book about the styles and history of Polynesian dancing. He also wrote a book about the study of anatomy during the Renaissance and how the body was understood and scientifically presented in the culture of the day. Quite an interesting fellow.

After breakfast I took a walk around town to explore. I walked down to the coast road and at the waterfront I watched the surf roll in to the rocky shoreline. After a day and a half of brisk onshore winds, the sea was very choppy with good-sized wind waves plus some swell. With strong onshore winds, the breakers are pushed over and collapse before they get too high, but still the surf was impressive. The surf surged all the way into the entrance channel to the small boat harbor, though the moored boats were not harmed.

I walked south towards the Armada compound, and along the way I saw a bunch of joggers running along the coast road. I would have hoped that in this isolated and unique culture, they could have avoided this kind of modern, yuppie exercise, but I guess not. It looked like it was an organized race, since nearby there was a official-looking finish line complete with sponsors' signs and a crowd milling about.

Continuing past the Armada, I watched the swell pound into some big rocks along the shore. The waves would dash themselves to pieces against the rocks, then fall back down and wash over the rock formation. Pretty impressive, and remember, this is the kind of sea conditions you find in the official Hanga Roa anchorage. Naturally, it's not a tenable anchorage today; it was too rough even for the surfers.

More pictures of swell breaking heavily along the west coast.

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