Moai Money…Moai Problems

Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 in Chile, Play-by-plays, South America | 0 comments

Nat Easter island 209After a day of unrelenting pain on a bicycle we decided to return them and go the 1% way – we got an ATV!!! We set off towards the eastern coastof the island to visit one of the highlights of Rapa Nui’s national park, Rano Raraku. Rano Raraku is a volcanic crater whose stone quarry was used in the creation of more than 95% of Rapa Nui’s Moai. The site is littered with dozens of standing and fallen Moai; some still embedded in the side of the mountain and never erected. While most Moai structures are fairly close to Rano Raraku, there are many that were transported a few hundred meters across the island. No one really knows how these huge slabs were moved, but oral legend is that a divine power commanded them to stand up and walk. Scientists though believe they were “walked” to the other side of the island with the use of ropes, pulleys and man power.

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Since we had the ease of getting around without having to worry about time or bicycle pain, we decided to check out a few caves that we were told were worthwhile. Nat was at the helm of the ATV, quite overjoyed to do some off-roading. After about 30 minutes of driving on jagged rock we found the first of three caves along the western side of the island. The cave was mediocre at best, although I did feel a little Indiana Jones-like, “discovering” a unmarked cave where you had to contort your body to enter a very tight space, which then opened up to the vast Pacific ocean. Nat’s take: “Meh, I’ve seen better.” Given the cave’s lack of luster, the fact that Natalya was a bit over zealous (some would even say MAD) about accelerating while going over jagged rocks and that I do want kids one day, we opted to not visit the other caves, but to head back, continue balling out and grab dinner at a Hanga Roa restaurant. The fresh fish was amazing, but expensive. After days of eating canned and packaged foods, it felt refreshing to splurge and eat real food though.

Our last day we got up early to view the sunrise at to Ahu Tongariki. Ahu Tongariki is probably the most popular site on Rapa Nui since it’s the largest Ahu (stone platform) on the island and 15 Moai stand on top of it. Although it was a bit cloudy, the views of the sunrise were quite spectacular and well worth waking up early to see…I would even say magical. We realized that the more Moai you see, the more problems you’ll have because Rapa Nui is an amazing place and you’ll want to stay longer.

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Other posts: Easter Island overview and Days 1-2

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