Day 18: 2nd day at Rapa Nui/ Easter Island

Despite still feeling sick and being quite tired, my coughing and poor TS’s nose ensured I didn’t get much sleep. I gave up and went downstairs before 7 and waited in the lobby until tender tickets were available so that we could go ashore on tender 1. I went to breakfast but didn’t see Bernie, so TS and I collected our stuff and headed off. Bernie was in the tender! The tender crew does an amazing job getting people in during such enormous swells – even those who are quite elderly. They get on both sides of you, pass you along, and say ‘timing’ and suddenly you’re on! They try to keep everyone going fairly steadily – probably not just so it takes less time but also doesn’t give people as much time to think and therefore get scared!

We got to shore and mum and dad were already there, so the 5 of us headed off towards the cache, on the other side of Hango Roa between the graveyard and Ahu Tahai. I was looking in some of the trickier spots to get to, but then dad called out he’d found it!
Geocache found!
We all signed the log and photos were taken. I swapped in an emu, a Geocaching Australia bumper sticker, and Sam the Healer travel bug. Bernie had left his wallet onboard and was going back, we we headed to Ahu Tahai for photos in sunlight as it had been raining when we were there the previous day. We roamed around – I took a few photos of a hawk on top of the moai with eyes. Then we all walked back to the town centre and looked at crafts and tshirts. We were wilting in the heat, and as in Tahiti, cold Cola Lite saved the day!
Downtown Hanga Roa

We then took a taxi to Orango, near where the other geocache on the island is located. The driver parked, then we excitedly started following the GPSr to where the cache was on the rim of Volcan Rano Kau – this is a huge volcanic crater – and when we were 75m away the driver started yelling and waving at us to come back. I was worried that he didn’t want to wait while we walked around, but TS talked to him and he was just concerned as we had said we wanted to go to Orango but were walking in the wrong direction. TS tried to explain about geocaching, and although he seemed to think we were a little crazy he smiled. Before trying for the cache again we went through the Orango site with him and it was really quite interesting, especially with him commentary (translated by TS of course). This site is the ceremonial village where men participating in the birdman competition would meditate before the start of the challenge. Many of the houses were either restored or still in great shape, there were fantastic petroglyphs, and the taxi driver pointed out where the competition participants would wash before going out for their eggs. Those participating in the challenge would go down an impossible cliff below this area, then swim to the little islands just off the island – Motu Nui and Motu Iti – to retrieve frigate bird eggs and try to be the first back up the cliff with one.
Motu Iti and Motu Nui from Orango Orango, Motu Iti &Motu Nui from the MV Discovery

Our taxi driver turned out being a really nice guy; his name was Gary. After we went through the site, we attempted to get the geocache but it was just too windy for us to feel comfortable doing it. We were accompanied by a guava-eating feral dog who was quite cute! We got back into the taxi and Gary stopped off on the way back to town to let us see it from above.
Hango Roa from the road to Orango
Then he dropped us at the cove. Dad and TS took the next tender back, and mum and I did a bit of shopping before returning (I had to buy a moai for Scott! I promised I’d bring him one back.). It was extremely ruff seas on our return to the ship – big waves that when we were in the base of we couldn’t see out – very worrying as there are many rocks and such in view, and we could see Captain Erik watching over everything as the tender docked.
MV Discovery from the tender
I sat near the library watching the island as the last of the tenders came in, and mum and TS joined me. At about 6pm we weighed anchor and started moving east along the southern coast of the island. We went on deck, and a rain shower made it look like a rainbow completely encircled the ship. We watched the sun set over the island as we headed off – a very sad time for me as I had thoroughly enjoyed being there!

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