Ok, so we’re up by 8am this our second morning on Easter Island and hurry down to have our first breakfast here at the Hangaroa Eco Village Resort, before taking our 9:30am tour.
The breakfast buffet was very good, with fresh juices, fruits, pastries, breads, omelettes , cheeses, ham, turkey, bacon, sausage and more. We made sure to get enough as we would have a full day touring, although it would be broken up in to two half day tours, with a break back at the hotel for lunch in between.
We met our English-speaking tour guide in the lobby, and she introduced us to the other Chilean couple and another Chilean woman traveling with her 2 year old son. The driver showed us to the tour van parked out front, and as there were only six of us tourists in this large touring van, we all had plenty of room. In the last post, I gave some of the trivia and tips for seeing the island thanks to our guide, but now we can visit the sites.
To reiterate one of the tips, be sure you take a photo of the signs when you are touring so you remember where you were, and can locate it more easily on the map. The island only has a few main roads, so we would start to recognize the airport as a focal point when we passed it, knowing we were getting close to the hotel, which was only a couple miles away.
The first stop we went to, Tonjariki, is the most famous of Easter Island’s ruins.Tonjariki has 15 restored Moai statues of different sizes and shapes, making it the largest restored site on the island. The original statues were knocked over during tribal wars, and a Tsunami in 1960 caused further destruction and moved them away from their original ‘platform’. Now the statues stand overlooking the beautiful green pastures with the Pacific Ocean’s breezes felt from behind them.
We learned on our tour, a Japanese company offered it’s services, including a large crane (no doubt for some publicity with the name of the company on the crane), and later money (after they figured out the crane alone wasn’t going to do any good!) to restore the statues in the mid 1990’s; a project that would take some five years to do. The work, money, and time was obviously well spent, as today the ruins stand tall for all to see and wonder in amazement how they could have have ever been sculpted much less moved to their platforms in the first place!
Here is a photo of the 15 statues,
but there’s always room for 2 more!
As you can see from these photos, Tonjariki was even more amazing and special without the crowds! Our small group of six people were all that were there when we went! There were more statues than people! As I said in the last post, the island tour guides know each other’s schedules and do try to plan around them, and as you’ll see in these and other trip photos, our Easter Island trip was without crowds anywhere we went!
The weather conditions change rapidly on the island due to the winds, and during the hour or so we were there, you can see many changes in the clouds, which made for interesting shades of colors and photos.
The next post will show photos of the quarry where the statues were actually sculpted, and somehow – no-one knows for sure – how they were moved to their respective place on the island.