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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
We Land on Easter Island

Gingerly, we stuffed the four of us into the Zodiak. The smell of eucaliptus and horses focused our noses to the new scents of an unfamiliar island.I navigated the raft between the breaking combers, apparently a little too close to the local surfers. One of them slid into our path and doused us good. We turned hard to port at the small breakwater and throttled down into the boat harbor. Two fishermen and a boy tethered us fore and aft alongside their skiff. We saw their yellowfin operation up close with tuna line all knotted, gloves with no palms, frayed wire and rusty knives. Live bait which they scooped up at night was hooked on a wire leader and then hand jigged "Ika Shibi" style off the outer reefs. When a yellowfin hit, it took them on a ride ala Moby Dick until it weakened enough to be hauled onboard. This morning they had cleaned a fresh sixty pounder before taking it home to carve up for sale.

We asked in our best high school Spanish “Donde esta la officia de postal ?” Following their directions, we took our first saunter off the stone dock and were met by a man with a jeep. In very broken Spanish/English we arranged for him to drive us there as well as Rano Raraku to see the famous quarry and statues. What a day!

The post office took a long time. The air was thick and humid, probably 90 degrees. We did get our passports stamped with the “estampe especial de Isla de Pasqua.” Donee mailed her pounds of correspondence class work. We all mailed the typical postcards…..Off in the jeep, we drove slowly through the main part of Hanga Roa, a dirt road lined with low black stone walls with hibiscus, bougainvillea, and palm fronds draped on and around the one story buildings.

We crossed the island through fields of black boulders, pumiced and pocked, strewn over the sparse grass as if they were sprayed out of a fountain. They were in a way. It wasn’t long before heads with long ears loomed up on the mountainside. There were a lot of them, tilting to the side, leaning headlong away from the hill. I was 150% alert and aware.

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