After my couple week hiatus from traveling to head to South Bend for a welcome weekend thing, I am back on the road. I hit the ground running with the most remote place I could fly to (on a commercial flight at least) – Easter Island!
Easter Island is most known for the gigantic stone heads, more appropriately called Moai. There are many theories about why these were carved and then transported around the entire island. However, the most popular is that they represent deified ancestors. According the archeological museum there are 887 moai on the island, however 397 never got transported out of the volcanic quarry that they were carved from. These are massive statues (average size is over 12 feet tall and weighing over 27,000 pounds) and were made in the fifteenth century until the ultimate demise of the island. Many ideas surround the mystery of Easter Island, and the Rapa Nui are considered a fascinating study in human isolation.
The island itself is only about 50 square miles but is absolutely beautiful! The coastline is mostly rocky, but with the bluest water I have ever seen. There are two calderas (collapsed volcanoes) and several caves. One of the caves is basically just an opening that you can climb down in and then walk through for a couple hundred feet to the opening to the ocean. The scary (or thrilling) aspect is that the opening is several hundred feet above sea level though – the ultimate waterslide if I ever saw one.
Easter Island is considered to be the most isolated inhabited island in the world. The closest neighbor is Pitcairn Island which is 1400 miles west, while mainland Chile is 2400 miles to the east. Basically, they are out in the absolute middle of nowhere. That fact combined with the tropical forests and the enigmatic magnetic rock (which according to rumors makes digital watches reset to 00:00 and makes second hands circle quickly) makes it pretty close to the infamous island from the tv show LOST. Luckily my plane didn’t crash, I didn’t have to push a button every 108 minutes, or hunt boar for food. Though hunting for my food would have been considerably cheaper than the alternative of restaurants and supermarkets with their extremely expensive food. But I guess that is to be expected, since everything has to arrive by either a 5 ½ hour plane ride (as evidenced by my water bottle cargo sticker) or by ship which takes about a week. They do get regular shipments though (as they would have to in order to support the 2500 residents plus the tourists), but normal things are not actually available every day. For example, I searched the five supermarkets on the island for bananas and oranges until I finally asked someone and they explained that “fruit day is tomorrow”.