When we got to Hanga Roa we got our leis of fresh flowers & it was very exciting since it was my first taste of Polynesia.Our hotel, the Tauraá, was very beautiful and they brought us fresh fruit juice upon arrival.We had lunch at a small place & I had some remo remo fish in garlic & it was awesome!Then we walked along to see the moai that were close to town.They were so cool!We also saw a beautiful rainbow along the way then went back to the close moai to take pictures at sunset & it was really nice.
Day 2 on Easter Island we took the East coast, North coast tour w/ Bill, the Australian owner of the hotel.He took us to Ahu Hanga Teé (toppled over heads), Akahanga, the quarry at Rano Raraku (where the 2 heads from Lonely Planet are), Tongariki (the 15 heads), Ahu Te Pito Kura (with the circular magnetic rock - the bellybutton of the world - actually that is what the Rapa Nui named the island - Rapa Nui was the name of the people but they had named the island Pito Kura, when the Eurpeans came they messed it up) & the ahu and the beach at Anakana.Each place was more beautiful than the next!At the beach at Anakana we went into the water for a short while.The water wasn't too cold but the wind made it chilly.There we also compared the older moai to the newer ones - the older ones look more like sumo wrestlers and the newer ones more like basketball players.That night we went to the Kari Kari native dance show. It was really beautiful and the dancers were very talented.It was my first Polynesian dance show and I really enjoyed it.
Day 3 on Easter Island we did the South and West coast tour.We went to Rano Kau where we saw a beautiful view of the crater.It was so windy there I felt like I was going to get blown over!!Then we went on to Orongo on the other side of the crater where they performed the birdman cult rituals going down the side of the crater swimming out to the island to wait for the first egg to hatch.We also got to see all of the reconstructed houses that they had built there only to use during that time of year.The entrances were always very small that they had to practically slither into it, always scraping the evil spirits off their backs before they entered the home.We learned that the ceremony was officiated over by the readers of the rangoa boards because they were supposed to be neutral.Also there is where they have the most petro glyphs but they were almost impossible to see since they were so eroded.From there we went to Ana Kai Tangata, the cave where they would prepare themselves for the competition by painting themselves & going into the cave to let it dry.Inside the cave we could see some bird paintings on the ceiling.Right outside the cave there were beautiful waves crashing on rocks.We then went on to Vinapu where we saw one of the 6 female moai supposedly holding a baby.After Vinapu we went to Puna Pau where we saw a lot of red top knots as well as other red chunks of rock that were too big to have been topknots so no one knows what they might have been for. From up the hill there we also had a really nice view of the town of Hanga Roa down below.The last moai we saw were at Ahu Akivi.They were supposed to represent the 7 sailors that the king sent out to go explore the island before the first settlers came.They are the only moai facing the sea but really they are inland and looking down at what would have been a village down below, NOT the sea.Our last stop for the day was at the cave of the 2 windows.It was on the northwest coast.It was really neat and we never would have found it on our own.We needed flashlights and to go down into the cave crouching.When we walked a little ways there were 2 separate openings looking down onto the water below.It was so beautiful!Bill said that the people would hide there from the European slave ships.It is so sad that of the over 1000 people they took as slaves from the island only 1 came back.
Day 4 in Easter Island it rained ALL day!I said goodbye to Katie & Steve & then went w/ the honeymoon couple down to go scuba diving.We swam through 2 arcs (my first) and saw the blue spotted pufferfish & lots of yellow needle fish as well as a few eels or morays.Because of the rain, I did nothing the rest of the day.