Category Archives: Rapa Nui

Diving in Rapa Nui, Chile

Did you know that the water has a visibility of 70m? It has some of the clearest water in the world and divers come searching for just that. There are many different types of dives that can be done, and for all levels: caves, cliffs, and arches and bridges. There are many colorful fish, but the island is known for its abundance of sea turtles.

One of the Moai can be found 24m under water as well. It was submerged by Mike Rapu in 2004 in honor of his grandfather. Also, Orca is another diving school that does various expeditions to different sites. Apparently, the owner of Orca was on Jacques Cousteau’s tripulation during his expeditions, and still gives lessons! so if you have a chance to walk in and he is there, definitely go speak with him!

Site: http://www.english.mikerapu.cl/?idcat=Home&idtypep=5731

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Moai

The first night, we went to see a local show. It was in a small local bar, and we enjoyed the music, the band as well as the dancers. One of the most impressive dances was the one where a woman danced solo to the music, but she was 7-8 months pregnant. Her beauty mesmerized us, and she just seemed to flow with the music and her exposed belly followed her every move

IMG_0774 IMG_0815 IMG_0821 IMG_6462 IMG_6473 IMG_6495 IMG_6510 IMG_6513 IMG_6697The following morning we left on a full day excursion to see the rest of the island. We started off in the stone village of Orongo, where many masonry houses were found and some restored. The site was a ceremonial one, called Motu Nui, which was part of the Birdman Cult ceremony, and lies on the tip of the crater of Rano Kau.

Throughout the island, many petroglyps can be seen on stones, representing gods, or the man bird. Also, we saw an Inca type of wall on the island, some suppositions are that the Incas may have gone to Rapa Nui, but this wall is the only proof, as no other types of records have been found (yet).

Moai is the name given to the famous statues found on Rapa Nui. There are about 800 registered and they are all over the island. Ahu is the name given to the base on which the Moai rest. Several Moais can still be seen top down, and have not yet been restored. Ahu Tongariki, is the site where 15 Moais can be seen lined up, these were excavated and restored in 1990. Other sites such as Ahu Akivi, has 7 standing Moais, and Ahu Vau Uri has 5. What is most impressive, is that the Rapa Nui would carve all of these gigantic Moais directly from one single site: the volcano Rano Ranaku. Once carved, they were transported to various parts of the island, and it is still unknown how these massive sculptures were transported.

Hotu Matu’a was considered the first settler of the island. Historians are not exactly sure where he came from exactly, but he brought with him a very big, round rock, and the latter is the only type on the whole island.  “Te pito o te henua”, meaning the center of the earth

Rapa Nui

On Saturday afternoon, after travelling overnight, and after a 5 hour flight from Santiago de Chile, we finally arrive to Rapa Nui. The little Polynesian island, commonly known as Easter Island, forms the southeastern point of the Polynesian Triangle (with Hawaii and Tahiti). The closest piece of land is Tahiti, at some 2000km, and the Chilean cost is at 3500km away. We were greeted at the airport with flower necklaces and taken to the little bungalows we had rented for the next few days. The island has approximately 5000 people living on it. The natives are called Rapa NuiImageand there are about 50% of them on the island, the other 50% are mainly Chileans or other nationalities that have moved there. Speaking with both natives and Chileans, one soon comes to realize that there are tensions between locals and newcomers to the island, and the Rapa Nui people identify themselves first as Rapa Nui, and the Chilean identity is purely on their documents. The people from Rapa Nui have suffered many famines, epidemics, civil wars slave raids and this has cause its population to decline more than once over time.

The main language on the island is Spanish. The Rapanui language has been disappearing. A Rapa Nui explained to us that he never really learnt the language, because his grandfather had gotten picked on when he was young and so he refused to teach the language to his children and grandchildren, in order to avoid the same happening to his loved ones.

There are no resorts, no tall buildings. Actually, the highest buildings are some of peoples houses, having two floors! This gave a nice vibe to the island, keeping it simple and warm.

Although May is rainy season, we were lucky and it only rained on our last day there. This time of the year is not too warm, making excursions fun. Also, there are not many tourists, and so there are no lineups, and the island is much quieter. Prices for hotels, food and activities are also much lower during this time of the year. The island is quite expensive, as most foods and necessities arrive by boat or plane. The only local products are tuna, fish, pineapple, mango and some avocado and potatoes. Everything else, including seafood, lettuce or even beer is imported. We had brought several basics in order to cook for ourselves once in a while: cans of tuna, pasta, sauce, mayonnaise etc. The tuna is very good, and they also make a tuna ceviche, that is delicious; some Peruvians would say the best, other than their own (ahaha). ImageImage