Day 598: A dinky little problem

The Egret crew are soaking up life on Easter Island, after learning some hard lessons about dinghys

Position: Hanga Roa Harbour, Easter Island, Chile 

Scott (YT) and Mary Flanders (MS) left Gibraltar on 16 September 2006, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete list of all the couple’s blog entries click here 

TheEgretcrew are soaking up life on Easter Island, even if they have learnt a few hard lessons about dinghys

Saturday 4 May
We arrived last week and had a few dinghy adventures. On Thursday Mary got up at 5am to check things and our new Zodiac dinghy that we bought in Rome and had only used a few times with our trusty 8hp Yamaha screwed to the transom was gone. There is no need for speculation as to how it became untied, the bottom line was that it was missing. So, we needed to launch the catamaran dink to go and look for the inflatable. The seas were setting to shore and we thought we would find it shredded on the rocks pounded by the huge surf. Unfortunately the seas were too rough and the catarmaran was too weighty to risk it.

Friday afternoon and night we were boat bound in a rock n roll machine and we managed to bury the master head portlight from time to time. This morning was beautiful with a relatively slight swell and today is also our fuel day. The catamaran is working hard to keep her place on the boat deck instead of being discarded after nearly sweeping us off the deck in rolly conditions while we were trying to launch her.

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To refuel we made five rental car trips to and from the gas station with eight jerry jugs, 56 gallons-over 400lbs of fuel per load. This took from 11am until nearly dark with just a quick stop for a sandwich. Geesh, I felt like a sailboater. We had our fastest turn around time on the second load when Frank and I got the pumping routine down to production levels but it caught up with us by the third load and we slowed down a bit each time.

Sunday 5 May
Today we went in our rental car to explore the island. We took a clockwise route in an attempt to catch the sun at its best angles for picture taking at various places of interest. Easter Island is the real deal,Egret’shighest compliment. Everything you have read about the island since childhood is here and accessible. Moai’s (head carvings) are everywhere. There are over 650 of these stone guys around the island, taken from a single quarry. How they transported them is still a mystery. One of the most impressive sites is the quarry where there are still figures cut into the hillside lying unfinished as if it were a weekend break. No one knows for sure the early history of the island but it is thought Polynesians arrived in two waves. The Moai have two distinct types of configurations. The earliest include the ‘short ears’ with a more rounded head and the later group are the ‘long ears’ and long faces. The latter group are by far the most prolific. On some of the figures there are similar designs on the back. Starting from the waist there are three horizontal curving lines (representing a rainbow), a circle above (the sun), two large abstract birds facing each other (a man and woman) a smaller bird above the birds (a child), and two images on either side of the child, again representing male and female. We’ll include the best of the pictures in future updates.

Returning from the day’s outing the catamaran dink made a concerted effort to stay aboardEgret. There were four of us, Ken the Singlehander was with us for the day, and we had a full fuel tank in the little fat dink. A huge surf ran into the harbour, breaking all the way across instead of leaving us the 75ft ‘hole’ we normally scoot through. It was scary stuff. We waited until it went calm and then made our way out. After the point of no return the first wave popped up and the catarmaran went flying with Ken taking his own ride. Then there were four more. The last was breaking when we blasted through in a ball of spray. Wild! An inflatable would never have made it through, certainly not with this amount of weight.

I have possibly come up with a way to steady the dink using fiddle blocks with cam cleats snapped to stanchion bases and clipped to the two transom eyes in the cat. Just a theory so we’ll see.

The tourists are here now but the place is not swarming. We haven’t seen a single two-storey hotel/pension in our travels. Most are small with 2-6 units. November through to April are the best months to visit, while May has the most rain. Easter Island is off the beaten path but certainly worth a week. There are flights from Santiago, Chile, and Papeete, Tahiti.

Top picture: Mary and Scott make friends
Bottom picture: A typical ‘long ear’ maoi. It is rare for a maoi to be facing offshore as this one, they usually face inland.



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