Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rhino Run

22 September is International Rhino Day. The Rhino Run foundation in South Africa organised five official trail races around the country to raise money and awareness for the rhinos. We decided to participate in our own unofficial Rhino Run on Rapa Nui to help spread the word.

Stop Rhino Poaching Now!

Taking a rest in a traditional village on the coast

Our route just outside Hanga Roa, the only town on the island


Easter Island is most famous for the 887 large stone statues, or Moai, which were carved from 1100 - 1680 AD. Although the statues seem to be just heads, they do have torsos, but many of these have become buried.

Moai on the coast of Hanga Roa

Almost all the Moai were carved out of solidified volcanic ash found at a single site inside the extinct volcano Rano Raraku. The native islanders who carved them used only stone hand chisels, and it took a team of five or six men about one year to complete a single Moai. Each statue represented the deceased head of a lineage.

Tongariki Moai: 15 Moai set on the east of the island

Almost all the Moai face inland to protect the islanders.

Only a quarter of the statues were installed around the coast, while the rest were abandoned en route to their final destinations or remain in the quarry.

Moai abandoned on the slopes of Rano Raruka

A Moai still attached to the bedrock in the quarry

Rapa Nui

"In the middle of the Great Ocean, in a region where no one ever passes, there is a mysterious and isolated island; there is no land in the vicinity and, for more than eight hundred leagues in all directions, empty and moving vastness surrounds it. It is planted with tall, monstrous statues, the work of some now vanished race, and it past remains an enigma."
- Pierre Loti

Playa Anakena: white sand beach with some Moais

We spent a week of our September holidays in Isla de Pascua, Rapa Nui or Easter Island. It was a great retreat and we learnt some amazing things about the history of this tough, little island.

Rapa Nui is an isolated volcanic island located in the heart of the South Pacific, halfway between Tahiti and South America. Its first inhabitants were Polynesians who settled there in about 700AD, and whose belief systems led to the carving of the stone statues for which the island is now so famous.

A Moai (stone statue) atop an Ahu (burial moud) in the town of Hanga Roa (only town on the island)

We explored the island by foot, jeep and scooter and we came across archaeological caves, petroglyphs, quarries, Moai, ceremonial villages, ruins, and more. We also saw beaches, turtles, wild horses and volcanes. It was truly spectacular! We followed the Sendero Te Ara O Te Ao up the crater to the ceremonial village of Orongo with its boat-shaped houses and view of the islands.

Rano Kau crater 

A boat-shaped house in Orongo

We had a fantastic holiday and we really enjoyed getting to know this unusual part of the world. Iorana!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

La Chascona

In April we visited Isla Negra, the site of one of Pablo Neruda's three houses. He also had a house in Santiago in the Bellavista neighbourhood called La Chascona. As expected, we found a very quirky little house, which is well worth a visit!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Top Ten finish!

Daniel competed in the K42 trail race at Laguna del Aculeo on the weekend. He finished the tough 42km race in 05:40 in 7th place! The course was very technical and steep, but incredibly beautiful.

Off to a strong start!

Follow the yellow ribbons all the way up the mountain...

Beautiful forest trails

Beautiful day for a race

A bit of mud and water into the mix

A strong finish

Waiting for his medal for finishing in 7th place!

Well done, champ!