The other Easter Island

This is an account of our journey to Easter Island. Now before you go getting excited for the wrong reasons, Easter Island is not the home of the Easter Bunny, overflowing with chocolate eggs. What it is, is a well known island off the coast of Chile, world famous for its incredible Stone statues depicting giant Maoi heads.

We’ve been here for 2 days now, on this tiny little island in the Pacific Ocean, just 11 km by 23 km. Chile is a whopping 3600 km away, which really makes you think as well about how the people on this island survived out here in the middle of nowhere, with the technologies available to them at the past, and how they created these incredible statues. Much like Stonehenge, they’re mysteries that we can’t even answer to this day, despite our enlightenment.

The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the incredible friendliness of everyone. Personally I’d think that having your home constantly bombarded by tourists would be so annoying as to be nerve wracking, yet these people have a genuine warmth for visitors, and really make it their duty to ensure they have the best stay possible while on the island.

Despite the small island’s size, and what we thought might be an over ambitious plan of staying here for 3 full days, there’s really so much to see and day that we weren’t left wanting for a second. No matter where you go on the island there’s something fascinating to see, and any number of the famous statues lying around, in various states of disrepair. It really makes you want to explore every inch of the island so you don’t miss a thing.

The statues are massive, with the largest being around 10m in length. One unfinished one would have been 21m based on its existing dimensions, really amazing. It’s so terrible to think that these incredible people who made them all died out in a tribal war as it is believed by historians. It actually makes me almost sick to my stomach when I think about it. As a result the island had been left barren and lifeless for centuries, with only the statues watching over it.

There are several volcanoes on the island as well, and we spent day one hiking up one of these. It was a great view from the top, with the far side of the crater rim leading to a sheer drop into the pacific ocean below. On the inside of the crater now rests a beautiful lagoon and some sparse vegetation. We came during a downtime of the year as far as tourists, and it was really a treat to have the run of the island nearly to ourselves, save for the local inhabitants.

We switched things up on the second day by hiring a scooter to put our island exploration into overdrive. I drove up front while Terra sat in the back, being her usual back seat driving self. Our first stop was the quarry, a site we absolutely could not miss on this trip. This is the site where all the stone that was used in the construction of the statues was dug up from, and dozens of unfinished statues still litter the area. You really feel like you’ve been transported to the past, just as things were hundreds of years ago. It was almost an out of body type experience. The fact that nature decided to unleash her fury on us while there, spewing rain from the clouds like an angry god only made the experience that much deeper.

Today is our last day here, and we were up at early dawn to get the most out of it, starting with an early sunrise sighting, worth every second of the scooter ride through the dark, over rough terrain. The rest of the day will be spent picking out the little corners of the island we haven’t yet visited, before we must leave. This will be one trip that won’t soon be forgotten.