EASTER ISLAND SECRETS

41 moai-uoste

IMG_3039Many have read books about expeditions of Kon-Tiki and Ra rafts by Norwegian traveler and scientist Thor Heyerdahl.   Is a difficult  to  imagine such journey,  but Heyerdahl proved that a reasonably ordinary raft could take the ocean. After the Easter Island and other islands in the Pacific Ocean, he showed that the first people came to Polynesia not from Asia (as claimed by most scientists) but from America.

And there was an excellent opportunity for me to visit this island full of many unsolved riddles. I think it would be attractive to everyone to read about this- the small island lost in the wide ranges of an ocean. Heyerdahl ran the isle with a raft.  I have flown an airplane from Chile. It was the end of my journey across South America (from the Land of Fire, through Argentina, Brazil, Chile).

IMG_2395The only LAN-Chile airline is flying passengers to this small island. The plane is landing on 1962 American-built one-way airport. There is only one 5-hour flight from Santiago per day, so there are no tourist jam on the island. The landing path goes very close to the shore, so looking through the illuminator, it seems that the plane goes straight into the water. The island could be reached by boat or sailboat, but of course, only single tourists come in that way.

The name  Easter Island, or Rapa Nui or Te Pito O TE (who in the local language means the world navel or a world ship) was given by the island's first recorded European visitor, the Dutch explorer  Jakob Roggeveen, who encountered it on Easter Sunday 5 April in 1722.  Rapa Nui (big Rapa) coined after the slave raids of the early 1860s  and refers to the island 's topographic resemblance to the Bass Islands of the Austral groups. However, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl argued that Rapa was the original name of Easter Island and that refugees from there named Rapa Iti.  The island from 1888  belongs to Chile. The Rapanui lands of the locals were redeemed (or occupated) by the Chilean government, which controls construction, businesses and tourist flows in  the island. Captain J. Roggeveen has found three  types   inhabitants of the island: black, red, and white. The first inhabitants of the island are believed to have come from the Polynesian islands, but Heyerdahl thinks that the first inhabitants of the island could have been Americans because in the island he found sweet potatoes that supposedly brought travelers from the Amazon. Island area takes about 163 square km.  (This equates to Kaunas area where I live ).

IMG_2641IMG_2557IMG_2573The great secret of the island is the stone sculptures that locals call moai. Statues are thought to have been created more than 400 years ago, but today they are one of the greatest riddles of archeology. The magnificence, energy, seriousness, and mystery of the sculptures are astounding.

 

 

IMG_2579216tahai4The statues are gouged with soft rocks from the Raraku volcanic tuff, most of them isolated, others lined up on the pedestal and all face to the island, except for one group of seven moai looking at the oceanIMG_2827. Sculptures vary in size: from half a meter to 22 meters in height, most of them scattered on the slopes of the volcano from which material was made. Some of the sculptures on their heads have red stone headgear that resembles Polynesian hairstyles. Heyerdahl argued that it might be the images of the old Vikings, because the faces of these statues are European, and the Viking hairs were brown. The red stone was taken from the mountain PUA PAO to make hats, and in the old Finnish, "red piajo" means "brown head." Maybe statues had a religious purpose, depicted tribal leaders, or perhaps, according to Polynesian customs, embodied the spirits of their ancestors. When the tribal unrest began, the statues began to be destroyed and finally, the creation of them ceased. Currently, there are about 600 sculptures on the island. The 1960s the southern part of the island was devastated by the tsunami, some of the statues were washed, and the tombs underneath them opened. It turned out that some sculptures were tombstones.IMG_2601

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21 Another secret of an island – underground caves, which may have been inhabited by natives.

Smallpox, brought in by  Europeans, was scattered around the island, similar to pox scars are carved in some sculptures. Maybe in the caves, those  infected with this contagious disease were isolated?IMG_2616 The caves are very deep and are thought that caves could connect the island with the mainland. The famous underwater world researcher Jean-Jacques Custo wrote about this. (Jacques-Yves Cousteau). The members of the Heyerdahl expedition were able to descend to a depth of 100 meters and found several small statues, including a woman giving birth, which was made of the most rudimentary basalt found only in Africa.

1orongo jThere is another exciting place on Easter Island, besides the moai and caves.Such is the Orango village in the western part of the island. The ancient inhabitants of the island believed the god  Maké Make. He created everything: sun, water, earth, stars. God came to the island by a flying ship, and himself was winged. The primary purpose of this ancient ceremony was to get the Human-Bird Title. The most honorable young tribal men had to dive from the rocky shore to the ocean and sail to the nearby three islets, where the Black Sea swallows hatched the eggs at that time. The first to find a swallow egg and hand it over to his tribal commander became the winner. Seven of the most beautiful women he got for it, and the winner was named Man – Bird and became the vicar of the god of Make Make for one year.

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Another mysterious place in the island is the magnetized stone, which warms up to 100 degrees in the sun, and the four adjacent round stones, which precisely redirected to four sides of the world, do not heat up at all. At the same stone, the compass arrow rotates continuously, and the second's indicator of the clock stops completely.  Was found that this stone on the island appeared about 500 years before the first statues have built. To guess who magnetized and polished stone is no response.  Easter Island does not issue its secrets so easily.

   What were we doing on the island? The big entertainment  there is not, it just lovely to be here.

 IMG_2879IMG_2945IMG_2854IMG_2912 We went to the carnival period: it's like Mardi Gras feast.   Festival on the island is called "Tapati." It was Interesting to observe a walk of a fun-minded masked and dressed people, in which there were a distinctly different (although in the local tradition was also in the masks and paintings on their bodies ) tourists.

23DSC_021125DSC_023327DSC_023930DSC_0255 It was interesting to listen to the sounds of melodic songs, to observe rhythmic ceremonies of dancing. The celebration took place on the ocean shore. Persistent sounds of waves, mixed with the rhythms of the songs and dancing, had been worn by mysticism and surrealism. In the shade of light, the dancing shadows created phantasmagoric images.  It was  difficult  to imagine that somewhere far from  there is another, civilized world.  The beef was baked on the bonfires, the whole island the entire night's sounded with music,  songs, and impressive dances.  And all this spree lasted until the sunrise.  

IMG_2419IMG_2429IMG_2425The Island is very excellent for hiking, cycling and horseback riding or windsurfing. In the evenings it was a pleasure to sit in tiny cafes on the ocean shore, to listen to the unrelenting waves of the ocean wave into the coastal cliffs, with a glass of wine. The good was to relax on a white sandy beach and swim under the ocean waves.

The righteous was  T. Hejerdal, saying that "What unites humanity is natural and must be promoted, and, on the contrary, what separates people is artificial and must be defeated."  I think that traveling is a big one for humanity.  When you  travel not only to acquire new knowledge, but also to communicate with people of different cultures.  We only differ to skin color, life, lifestyle, but not feelings: everywhere people love and hate, get married and divorces, grow children and get older. We travel because  we eager to learn about old civilizations that existed before us expand, our knowledge and see how many unexplored civilizations exist in our world.  Rightly wrote the French philosopher R. Descartes (Rene Descartes): "Traveling is almost the same thing to talk with  people of old  centuries." 

Leonarda Sarakauskiene  info@sarakauskiene.lt      More pictures :48 ahu akivi

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