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"From Fishing to Farmers Markets" & events, issues & ideas

Saturday, March 17, 2007
Marco Meza, the hamming weatherman

Steve changed the oil on the main at 200 hours. Done and I cleaned the wheelhouse and galley as Drake worked on deck projects. We worked diligently because the lee side of Easter Island afforded us a gentle swell and breeze, unlike the rolling and pitching of the open sea. Today was another special day for visiting the island nestled in a morning mist.

The zodiac took us in through the breakers to the boat harbor where Miguel was waiting with his van for Steve and I. Heading up the dirt path, by stone walls, horses, dogs and children, we drove by a long row of pungent eucalyptus trees, the only trees left on this rocky island. Soon the airport appeared and we entered an air conditioned weather station. Four weathermen used radar, ship reports, and weather balloons to forecast the weather for Chile, 2000 miles to the east. One of them was our ham friend, Marcos Meza. He gave us a tour of the impressive weather station and then diverted us to his home to observe his QTH, or home station. Marco’s radio was on the blink, a Kenwood TS 440 which is a dandy little rig. His antennas were sufficient for DX’ing worldwide. In order to change the direction of his twenty meter beam it was necessary to go outside, grab hold of a rope tied to the antenna, and march around below until the antenna was directional for the US, South America, Australia or Japan. Europe and Russia could be gained by over the pole transmission. Mostly he aimed it East and West to avoid the hoards of American hams. Easter Island was a rare and juicy QSO for a budding American ham. I was satisfied with an eyeball QSO, which is a face to face meeting. We promised to write to Kenwood and report Marco’s radio problem.

Back down through the tiny village we went and stopped at the store. It was merely one long shelf along the wall with cans of fruit, vegetables, corned beef, and deviled ham. One bright spot was a basket of oranges and grapefruit which looked suspiciously like the ones confiscated from us by the agricultural official.

We met Drake and Donne` at the café for lunch. Again the owner prepared tuna. It was the only fresh protein available, and she broiled it to perfection. A tradition on Easter Island is to return a gift for a gift given. The owner placed shell necklaces around our heads in gratitude for the two albacore we brought her that morning. We were soon to make more friends who drove up on horseback as we finished our lunch.


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