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Monday 12 Apr 2010
Easter Island, Chile

Isla de Pascua... Day 2

SUMMARY POINTS ...

- Got scooter for the day. Bit nervous at first as I wasn't sure if I remembered how to ride one (last time was in Cuba!) but it came back in seconds once out on the road. Best way to get around the island as it's more fun than a mountain bike (plus easier!), plus you aren't isolated from the environment as you would be in a car. Got a great deal from (**insert company name here**) which was 40,000 Chilean peso for 3 days rental (about 60 euro plus about 10 euro for total petrol over the 3 days!). Bluffed my way with the licence requirements by saying that a car licence in Ireland gives you licence to ride a bike... seemed to work!

- First port of call was the volcano of Rano Kau. Passed lots of exhausted cyclists on way up. Roads in Easter Island generall good, but lots of unpaved roads too that are full of huge pot holes due to erosion with wind and rain on the exposed island. Great view of crater of volcano. Volcanic lake full of plants indigenous to island (only place that's left pure now). Orongo village and lookout over the mutu islets (discuss birdman ritual).

- Next took the southern circuit today. Ahu Vinapu, with it's inca-like ruins.

- Next was an excellent drive along the rugged southern coast stopping at several Moai sites along the way. A lot of the Moai are destroyed due to the wars that took place. Feeling was so good with the warm breeze blowing on my face and wild horses galloping around the place. Best section of road on the island! Haven't felt so free in such a long time and the Easter Island experience reminded me once more why I loved riding motorbikes. I really should check them out when I go back to Ireland!

- Next stop was the quarry, which I arrived to at around 2.30pm with the sun lowish in the sky (gets dark at 6.30pm). Guide let me in without stamping my permit, so that I could come back earlier next time. The low sun in the perfectly clear sky meant that the Moai cast fantastic long shadows though. Best section for Moai in the entire island in my opinion. Spent about 2 hours here taking photos! Chatting to guide, and I asked him why the Moai here survived when all the others were destroyed. He said that 1) the quarry was likely a sacred place that the locals would have revered and not bothered attacking, 2) it was too far away for them to be bothered with! Laughing

- Ahu Tongariki was next. Spent ages trying to get star-jumping photos (noone around to take em of me... in fact one of the cool things about Easter Island is that, due to the expense getting here, there are less tourists and usually you have the sites completely to yourself!). Represents the first colonists to arrive on the island (I love how the Rapanui were self-aware that they originated somewhere else.. this was the same with the Maori on NZ).

- Starting to get dark so I did a quick loop around up to Anakena to be greeted by a fantastic white-sand beach fronted with more Moai. Paradise... would have to come back here for sure! With huge caves, volcanoes, red-lava rocky terrain, beaches, plus amazing coral reefs offshore, Easter Island has an amazingly varied environment for such a small place!

- Drove back to Hanga Roa amidst an excellently-starry night (no moon thankfully!) and stocked up on some ravioli pasta in the supermarket. Eating out on Easter Island is expensive and I couldn't really afford to do it every night! Even buying the pasta and sauce in the supermarket, plus 6 beers, set me back about US$15 !

- Later than night, I had to venture out on the bike to find somewhere with no light to really appreciate the stars. I couldn't get over just how many "coloured stars" were visible (obviously planets) and how the Milky Way was so bright! Easily the best night's sky I've ever seen (the 2nd best is the first time I saw the Milky Way when I was in Byron Bay, Australia)

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South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan

Moiagasm!

Moiagasm!


After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

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    Yep, it really is Easter Island!
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    Easter Island

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