Rapa Nui is the Polynesian name for what we call Easter Island. It is said to be the most isolated single inhabited island in the world. It lies 2000 miles from Chile and over a thousand miles from Pitcairn Island, our next destination. It was formed from volcanic eruptions and still has three main active volcanoes. It is home to about 7500 people, which is 2500 more than the island can sustain. We arrived early this morning and had to wait until almost 1 PM before it was safe to board the tender boats that took us ashore. The boats were rolling up and down in the swell and the Captain repositioned the ship three times.
Our tour which was to take all day was condensed into half a day. The guide told us that only 8 to 10 cruise ships are allowed to visit the island in a year. The tiny port is surrounded by rocks so all the transports have to be done in daylight.
Rapa Nui is known for its Moai, large statues carved from volcanic rock between 900 to 1200 AD. They are said to honor the ancestors of the first clans of Polynesian people who inhabited the island. Many were lying down or buried until restoration to their original position in the last thirty years. The Moai in the row behind us in the photo were discovered and restored after an earthquake in 1992. We had a perfect day to visit them and were blessed to be able to get ashore, safely.