Easter Island

Day 34 - Wednesday, February 8th - Sea Day:  The seas are much calmer today and temps are in the 60s.  We didn't go to any lectures today, but we did play trivia.  Since there's not much to report, we'll indulge in a little shipboard gossip.  Our table mate Lillian has gone on several world cruises, and knows a lot of other passengers aboard.  Jay and I noticed this gal whose cabin is right down the hall from us, and we've seen her mostly from the rear, with an older man usually on her arm.  We speculated that he was her father, because he looked quite old and she looked very shapely and had nice legs.  Lillian told us they were married, and that the gal is in her 80s!  She wears her hair long, almost down to her waist.  The other day we got a look at her face, and oy vey, she's had a few plastic surgeries too many.  Lillian says her husband is a retired plastic surgeon and has practiced on her.  The strange thing about these frequent cruisers is that they don't seem to like each other.  There's almost a sub-culture on the ship of this group of people.  Tonight was another formal night with a Captain Bligh theme, so we took a picture of our dining room stewards with our fellow diners Paul and Lillian.  The movie today is, of course, "Mutiny on the Bounty."

Day 35 - Thursday, February 9th - Sea Day:  The captain sat at the table next to us in the Lido this morning, and when he asked how we were, we asked him to confirm how bad things were on Monday, our roughest day.  He said the weather was 9 or 10 on the Beaufort Scale with swells of 25 feet.  We're somewhat surprised to see him about the ship as there has been some of the GI sickness and also a cough that has given some passengers problems.  Thankfully we've been feeling well for the most part (Barbara's head is the same--no better, no worse).  After breakfast Barbara went to the spa to see if she could get a haircut and Violetta from Macedonia (recommended by Lillian and Francine) was open right then.  The cost was a reasonable $35 before tip and she did a nice job. Violetta is a young gal who has been doing hair for five years on cruise ships and the job has made it possible for her to see a lot of the world.  At 11:00 we attended Revell Carr's lecture on the three voyages James Cook made to the parts of the world we're visiting.  The temps are back up in the 70s so we'll have to sit out by the pool one of these days.  We went to the show tonight and heard a funny comedian, Jeff Nease.

Day 36 - Friday, February 10th - Sea Day:  We went to breakfast in the dining room this morning and were seated with two very nice couples.  The Australian couple told us how they couldn't stand Rupert Murdoch (we've heard from others that his mother is a lovely person and lives in Australia).  The other couple was interesting--she is from Budapest and escaped to Austria in 1956 after the statue of Stalin was toppled.  Her husband at the time was one of the revolutionaries.  Now she and the fellow she's with (he's from Pittsburgh, she's from Pacifica CA) commute to see each other.  We did spend some time by the pool today and Jay enjoyed the hot tub.

Day 37 - Saturday, February 11th - Easter Island:  The ship dropped anchor today in Anakena Cove.  The swells were too strong for us to go to the usual place near Hanga Roa, the main town.  There is no dock on Easter Island for cruise ships.  Our shore excursion was scheduled for 12:30, but we had a hearty breakfast in the dining room (skipping lunch) and went ashore a little after 10:00.  The locals had tables of souvenirs displayed near the tender area, so we did our shopping right away.   There is a group of five Moai statues right near this pretty beach.  The statues are located all around the edges of the island, always with their backs to the ocean.  When the tour started, our van that held about 12 (they put only 7 of us in it), took us to another site where there are 15 Moai.  Our local guide told us that the history of Easter Island has been lost and they don't know exactly why the Moai were carved and placed, but they think their purpose was to protect the island and the people.  Our next stop was the quarry, where they think most of the Moai, which are made of volcanic basalt rock, were carved.  There are 887 statues, and about half of them remain in the quarry, including the largest.  He is lying down and is estimated to weigh 82 tons.  The other statues are up to 18 feet tall and weigh several tons each.  There are theories but no one knows for certain how the carved statues were moved from the quarry.  It is estimated that each statue took 4-5 people a year to carve.  From the quarry we went into the town of Hanga Roa and visited another group of Moai, one of which is the only one to have the eyes, made of shells, restored.  The statues have been carbon-dated from 1100-1680 AD.  Inter-tribal wars were responsible for many statues being toppled in the past and a tsunami caused by the 9.5 earthquake in Chile in 1960 moved and damaged many of them.  Easter Island covers 63 square miles and has a population of around 3,800.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and most of the island lies within the Rapa Nui National Park. The nearest inhabited places are Chile, about 2,200 miles to the east, and Pitcairn Island, about 1,300 miles to the west.  The population of the island at one point was down to 36--in 1862 Peruvian slave traders took many of the islanders and when they were returned from Peru it was with illnesses such as smallpox.  Chile annexed the island in 1888.  Today was beautiful (low 80s but a nice breeze) and we're glad to have visited this remote place.  The tender ride back to the ship was like a roller coaster, so the ship was three hours late in leaving as all the tenders weren't back until 7:30.  We showered before dinner to remove the fine layer of red dust that covered us.

Click here for Easter Island photos.

© Jay Deitch 2015