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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Officials Troll for Goodies

We anchored in six fathoms off of the main town of Easter Island, Hanga Roa. Aloft we flew a quarantine flag, a yellow square basically, and under that the official flag of Chile. This hastily sewn flag featured a rectangle with the bottom half red, the upper left quarter, a field of blue with a white star, and the upper right quarter, a field of white. Steve’s old white Hanes and an extra scrap of blue did well for part of this flag, but I was hard up for the rest. A red remnant out of the engine room sufficed. Soon the customs and immigration officials assembled to board us an hour later.

First over the rail was the “El Commandante” and then the other three who checked our passports, boat documents, and galley. The fourth official claimed to be “agricultural” and he confiscated all my carefully chosen Panamanian fruit and vegetables, leaving only one soft grapefruit. As the galley slave, this was not a popular move. Then we pulled the biggest potential boner. We gave the Commandante two albacore we had trolled up just a day or so out of port, well within the EEZ or 200 mile limit of Easter Island. Being that no one there was prudently aware of this new phenomenon, everyone was happy. We were given permission to visit the island and the skiff full of our entire stash of produce, two tuna, and four officials buzzed off to shore.

We learned that the Chilean government was not especially popular on the island. The locals spoke Polynesian and a little Spanish. They called themselves Rapa Nuians. We assembled the Zodiak, mounted our 25 hsp Johnson, loaded the gas tank, and Steve began pulling the start cord to begin our adventure on shore.


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