Peru and Easter Island Day 13


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11th May 2010
Woke up at 8.00 got ready and went for breakfast by 8.30. I had pancakes with pineapple and melon as well as bread and jam.

After breakfast I went for a walk around Hanga Roa and stopped off at the Post Office to get my passport stamped as they do not do this at the airport.
My tour today starts at 10.00 and is of the West coast of the Island and will be led by Bill the hotel owner.

First up is Ana Kai Tangata, a cave on the coast known as the cannibal cave. It is quite steep to get down to it and the sea is very rough bashing up against the cliffs. The cave is quite big and opens up to the coast, it is also very high but I don’t think it would have offered much shelter to its occupants.

Next up was the volcanic caldera of Rano Kau. We stop off at an overlook that looks down into the crater lake, Bill explains that years ago this is where all the women used to go once a year and stay for a week or two to do their laundry. From this viewpoint you could see the full circle of the volcano.

A very short drive up from here is the old village of Orongo. Orongo was the centre of the Birdman Cult and here you will find almost 1800 petroglyphs and numerous houses.

This is where the famous Birdman competition took place, basically the competition involved the strongest members from each Clan descending down the cliff, swimming a mile to the Motu Nui Island and them wait for the eggs of the Sooty Tern to be laid and bring one back to present it to his Clans leader, the leader would then become the Birdman for the next year and rule over the island for that time.

We then travel back down the road and reach Vinapu, Vinapu features a female moai statue although it is so badly weathered it is difficult to tell and some very fine stonework similar to that of the Inca’s. which has led some people to theorise that the Island was populated from the East rather than the West and Polynesia (although all the evidence points to the first inhabitants coming from the West). There is also a number of fallen moai and topknots here.

We then drop Deb, Cheryl and Laurie off in town before continuing on the tour. We then end up at Puna Pau which is the topknot quarry where the red scoria was extracted, carved and transported. There are a number of abandoned topknots around the quarry and some even have petroglyphs carved into them.

The last Ahu we visit on the tour today is Ahu Akivi, the first Ahu on the Island to be restored in 1960. the 108 foot long Ahu features seven moai facing the setting sun and is belived to represent the seven explorers sent to scout the Island before the arrival of Hotu Matu’a and is estimated to have been constructed around 1450.

The final stop of today’s tour is Ana Te Pahu otherwise known as the banana cave due to the fact that banana trees grow up from the cave floor. The cave was used in ancient times as a shelter, defence and storage. The cave has openings at both ends and extends for almost 100 metres. At one end there is a large water pool that you can hear drops dripping into it.

We then drive back to town and get dropped off at the hotel.

I go and explore the Hanga Roa coast again like I did last night and end up in the same areas with the moai with the eyes. I eventually go for dinner at Hakahonu Restaurant and have the local fish with stir fried vegetables and it was great. I then walk around the town for a bit visiting the artisan markets and the church before going for an ice cream which turned out to be huge, almost the size of my head.

To finish the night off I go to Kari Kari which is a traditional dance show, it lasts for almost an hour and is high energy throughout, they even get people from the audience to take part, I sink lower in the seat at that point hoping they ignore me, which they do thankfully.

I go to a store on the way back to the hotel to buy some water for the next day and go to bed as soon as I get to my room.

Pictures Coming Soon