To understand everything here and so I don’t have to write masses of background you should read some of the basic history of the island, for example on the Wikipedia Page for the island.
So I’ve been in Easter Island for a few days now. On Friday when I arrived I had a late lunch after my flight and explored the village. I also headed to the excellent Easter Island museum where I learnt some more about the history of the island (but actually quite a bit of it was already in the Rough Guide’s context sections on Easter Island) telling me about the fighting on the island and the petroglyphs and the theories for moving the statues and the top knots.
Then on Saturday I took the short loop around by bike near the village. As usual the seat wasn’t that comfy, and the chain came off when I went into the highest gear but otherwise it was fine. First I headed to the topknot quarry which was very interesting and showed some topknots that weren’t completed, it is worth noting that now very few of the statues actually have topknots due to erosion and the fact that all of the statues were toppled from their platforms in the 18th century. Then after that I cycled further down the gravel road to a site called Ahu Akivi which is the only set of statues on the island which look out to sea, as even though they are almost all located around the coast all of the others look into the land. After that I found two sets of caves which people lived in during the violence in the later part of the pre-European time on the island. Finally I headed to some more caves overlooking the sea very impressively, the entrances was also very narrow and you needed are torch.
The on Sunday I headed on a full day guided tour of the island to see some more platforms, the quarry where the statues themselves were carved including the largest statue on the island (that is still in the quarry), the only thing unexpected about the quarry was that it was grassed over much more than I expected. We also saw the 15 moai that stand up in one place just below the quarry. Then after lunch we saw the largest statue outside the quarry which hadn’t been re-stood up and a 200% genuine beach on the island (the sand went back in a big square) and I went swimming in the fairly cold sea on the beach. I was also told about the maoi in the British musuem which apparently has a lot of detail on it that is unique (as the others have been outside probably) although it is well kept it is apparently excellently located near the toilets which is a bit sad, I’m going to check it out when I get back to the UK in the spring.
Then today I walked up to Orongo which is a restored village. This village was only occupied for a few weeks a year during the birdman ceremony and had been reconstructed in the 1970’s. This was really interesting and it was really windy up there as well. On the surprisingly long walk up I also saw some gardens of native plants but a lot of them were sadly overgrown. I also saw the amazing volcanic crater Ranu Kao which was amazingly green inside as it was protected from the elements (a lot of plants are grown in this way on Easter Island, though obviously on a smaller scale with a 50cm wall rather than a giant crater).
Tonight I’m going to try and see the sunset so I need to get off and have my supper now. Tomorrow I’m probably going to do some snorkelling.