Easter Island

 

Hiking with Heads

     This is what I call a trailhead! This trail gives hikers a close up and personal experience with the giant heads known formally as moai.

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Ahu Akivi

     Every moai was placed on shorelines by their creators and always faced inland. This site, Ahu Akivi, is the sole exception. These seven heads stand about a mile inland in a field on a hill. They all face west towards the ocean and the setting sun. Researchers can only guess the reasons why each moai was placed where it was. I must add that the view from this spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean was spectacular.

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Tonga Rikki

     The name of this photo is also the name of the site on Easter Island where this head stands. In the distance stands the remains of an old volcano which was the source of the rock used to carve all the moai. Today the wall is known as the quarry.

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Top Hat

     Notice the detail such as hands and fingers, navel, and long ear lobes. No one is sure what the rocks on the head represent. Some researchers believe they represent a hairstyle said to be worn by the islanders at that time. Others say it is simply a hat.

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Slowly Sinking

     These moai which stand at the base of the quarry, as well as many dozens of others, are slowly being swallowed by the Earth. The weight of each head is causing them to sink while soil deposited by wind around their bases slowly rises higher. Someday these moai will stand in graves only yards from where they were born.

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Sunrise

     These fifteen moai are the most impressive group on the island. Located at the Tonga Rikki site, they stand on a five foot high platform known as an ahu. The largest head stands 60 feet tall.The location is as beautiful as the moai themselves. Waves from the Pacific Ocean crash ashore just 50 yards beyond the platform.

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Resting Place

     Each head was carved while the stone was still attached to the hillside. When completed the moai was "sliced" from the quarry and then slid down the hill to a pre-dug hole. It was stood in the hole where it would wait for transportation to its final location somewhere else on the island. Researchers know this because there are moai remaining today that had been abandoned in every stage of the process.

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The Quarry

     Easter Island is populated with hundreds of horses that roam the island. They were almost magical at times. I was admiring this view of the quarry and looked away. A moment later I looked back and suddenly saw these two horses that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

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Seaside Moai

     This panorama was taken just outside of Easter Island's only town.

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Heading Home

     Driving through the deserted southwest corner of the island I saw this local on horseback many miles outside of town. I have no idea where he was coming from or where he was going.

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Turquoise Pacific

     Turquoise blue water kisses Easter Island's entire north shore.

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Paradise

     The sun's rays are extremely intense on Easter Island and skin burns easily. This beach, the island's only one with white sand, was an excellent place to cool off.

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Lava Beach

     Easter Island was formed by three volcanoes. Because of this, every other beach was covered with sharp lava rocks.

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Volcano Lake

     This panorama is a view of the back side of the quarry. The lake lies at the bottom of the volcanoes caldera and the shady hill to the right holds many dozens of neglected moai.

Original: 8 megapixel Digital Jpeg File

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