Rock On!

Monday, we spent another very long and informative touring more of Rapa Nui’s fabulous cultural artifacts.  We started the day with a visit to Akahanga, which is the site of another Ahu, but not as well restored as some of the prior sites we had visited. We were pleased to have two Canadian tourists, Karen & Rob, join us for the day, not only because they were great company, but also because Rob shares my love of photography, and he was the source of many great photo tips!

For me, the highlight of the day was our next stop at Ahu Tongariki, which is the site of the largest assemblage of restored moai. Ahu Tongariki

Ahu TongarikiAhu Tongariki

The Ahu Tongariki site also has some great petroglyphs.

Ahu TongarikiThis is the Birdman petroglyph.

Ahu TongarikiThis is a tuna.

Sadly, we were at Tongariki right at noon, so the quality of the light for the photography was really harsh and difficult. However, all said, it was such a fabulous site

Ahu Tongarikithat we decided to rent  a car and drive back at dawn on Tuesday so we could catch the sun rising behind the moai. Rob & Karen decided to come with us. This will be the subject of our next post, but our day Monday wasn’t  even half done yet.

Our next stop was at the volcano known as Rano Raraku, which became the quarry site for all the moai.  This was Jim’s most-anticipated stop, because this is the site where you see pictures from Easter Island where it looks like there has been a giant explosion of the moai, because they lay scattered all over the volcano side.

Rano Rakaru Rano Rakaru Rano Rakaru Rano Rakaru

The moai were all actually carved at the quarry, and then their backs were cut free from the stone to be carried to their ahu sites.  As you might imagine, carving each moai was a painstaking process, usually taking one to two years apiece. Unfortunately, if the artisans or those who had commissioned them were unhappy with the final product, the uncompleted or damaged moai were left in the quarry. Rano Rakaru Rano Rakaru Rano RakaruRano Rakaru

Late in the afternoon, after a brief stop at Te Pito Kura, which is the site of another ahu, Te Pito Kura Te Pito Kura Te Pito Kura(and well populated by the horses that roam free everywhere on the island) Te Pito Kura Te Pito Kura Te Pito Kura Te Pito Kura

we drove to Anakena beach, which is where the original Polynesian explorers landed on Rapa Nui, probably because it is the only sandy and accessible beach on the island.  Tahiti, watch out!

Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau

And not only is the beach gorgeous, but they also have a collection of moai which are fabulous themselves!

Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau Playa Anakena and the Ahu Nau Nau

More tomorrow on our wild dawn trek to revisit Tongariki. …

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