Thursday, December 22, 2011

On to mainland Chile

Easter Island is a vulnerable place for sailors, so we needed to get going. Our next passage would be to the mainland of Chile (Easter Island also belongs to Chile). So we walked to town, stopping at the Armada office to notify them of our intended departure - a requirement - and to check their weather forecast which looked favourable. We then went to market for provisioning. We needed mostly fruits and veggies and found everything we wanted. The produce was very good quality (best arugula ever) but not cheap like Ecuador.

At about 15:00, a few officials came down to the boat where certain departure procedures were done.

Once everything was ship-shape, we untied our lines from shore and the concrete jetty as we officially headed out at 16:00 on December 13th (not a Friday!) For exiting the harbout, we were granted permission to use our own waypoints instead of hiring a pilot (I had written down waypoints when we followed the barge in on December 7th). Under sunny skies and warm temperatures, we motored out of the tiny Harbour Piko, with wind on the nose, until we could bear off and rounded the SW end of Easter Island with just a poled head sail.

So long, Easter Island!

We had expected to be running under good wind conditions as long as we could stay away from the high pressure zone on the southern fringe. The strategy was to head south of the rhumb line before turning towards our destination. But the high seemed to overtake us, pushing us further south. We went from good wind the first day to being totally becalmed - we even put out our flopper stoppers to stop the constant rolling as we waited for wind, not wanting to motor so soon on our long passage (expecting about a 21-day voyage). Several days, we only made a direct southing track as we tried to pick up some more winds. A couple of those days were under power to try to escape the calms.

Jordan saw his first great wandering albatross on December 19th. Unfortunately I was sleeping and missed it but we saw more later throughout our passage. They are big birds and look like they fly in slow motion, wingtips flitting along the wave crests, gliding on a cushion of wave wind, barely ever a flap.

Finally on our 7th day out, we had a great day of sailing with a light to medium downwind, running a direct line east to Puerto Montt.

One chilly day, Jordan decided to put on his moccasins as his feet were feeling cold. We both laughed as he hilariously slid from port to starboard continually, unable to stay in one spot with Sea Turtle's heeling. I also dropped 10 eggs, breaking them all. Fun and angst on the high seas.

December 21st is the shortest day of the year up north, but the longest day of the year where we are. It was also a good day sailing with lots of wind, but mostly overcast and some rain. Next day, had one anxious moment when trying to furl the head sail in. The furling drum spun but the sail did not furl in. Thankfully it was only a loose set screw which Jordan quickly tightened.

Easy fix in daylight...

But then a few hours later, we were treated to an outstanding sunset...


Jordan describes the gliding birds:
I love watching these birds about the size of seagulls. They are fast yet hardly ever beat their wings. They streak along the front crest of the swells or waves with wingtips maybe an inch from the water, the peel up about 30 or 40 feet in a fast tight turn and at times almost upside down to make another run at it. They look like fighter pilots making low level bombing runs then peeling up for another strafing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dirty deeds done cheap

Our plan was to go to the veggie market today as we knew it would be open but Jordan had a dirty job to do and wanted to finish it before going to town. Cleaning the oily bilge...yuck...it ended up being an all day job. Also 1 of the 2 bilge pumps had previously quit working and when he couldn't fix it, he removed it from the slime - another thing to add to the "to buy" list. Oh well, hopefully the market sellers will be around again tomorrow.

Now that our sightseeing had come to an end, we reflected on the intrigue of what we saw. The curious and fascinating past of the original inhabitants and their bizarre endeavours and the remoteness of this island will make Easter Island the most unusual and thought provoking place we have visited.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wrap-up tour

Ana Kai Tangata - Today at Easter Island we went cave exploring at a cave whose name means "Cave Assemble Man", or in other words, a place where man gathers. Paintings of the Sooty Tern bird are on the cave ceiling, but now, with humidity and the presence of man, only fragments remain making them impossible for us to distinguish. The Sooty Tern is the bird whose egg was sought in the Birdman Competition at Orongo.

But it is a great view of the coastline from inside the cave or from above it. With a tide variance of only 1 m on Easter Island, you are always safe inside the cave.

View from inside Ana Kai Tangata on a calm day

Museum - The museum is small but has some interesting artifacts of note. One being fragments of an original moai eye that was discovered beneath an ahu (platform) at Anakena beach in 1978 shown below...

Red scoria & white coral eye

As very few eye fragments have been discovered, it is thought that they were only used for particular ceremonies on some moai.

There are only 2 replica Rongo Rongo tablets on display as the 27 original are all in other museums overseas. The script on these wooden tablets is still a mystery today. Are they some mysterious language? Are they symbols used as an aid in story telling?

Basalt fish hooks, dental and sewing implements, sketches of boat-shaped houses, obsidian spearheads and other weapons...just a few of the many items to view. Only a small percentage of the 15,000 artifacts in the museum's collection are displayed.

13:30 and it was time to return the motor scooter after 3 days of harried exploring.

Moto and moai

Back at our mooring, we once again watched the 2 resident sea turtles swimming about. They don't seem to be afraid of humans and hang out interested as the fishermen clean their catch, but of course they don't eat fish. We also found 1 that was lazily soaking up the sun in the shallows. The turtles we saw all had shells about 1 m long.

Two torpid turtles

The local fisherman gave us 2 more delicious fish today for 1 beer and 1 cola - sounds like a good deal to me! Then this afternoon, Jordan cleaned the bottom hull of Sea Turtle. It had a few gooseneck barnacles but otherwise was in good shape. And the ocean water was also fairly warm.

Another sailboat, Odyle, arrived today but as it was too big to be in Harbour Piko, it anchored out where we had been the first night.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our highlight

This morning, Jordan locked the dinghy to the stern of Sea Turtle with just enough lead so that we could grab onto the mooring ropes and slowly pull ourselves to the concrete wall where I would pull myself up onto the top of the wall. Jordan would then move the dinghy over to the slippery concrete jetties and tie a retrieval line there as he scrambled ashore. It was now out of the reach of children!

Rano Raraku - Today we headed for the quarry, about 18 km from Hanga Roa on Easter Island, where the moai (statues) were extracted from the rock cliffs which are the back side of an extinct volcano. There are almost 400 moai left here in various stages of completion. As we approached, we could see the side of the volcano studded with moai, gazing outward.

Volcano Rano Raraku with 100s of moai

Many for the most part have been partially buried over the years from falling earth, carving residue, and general erosion. So what is visible are mainly the heads of the moai (which are only about one third of the size of the entire moai) with the bodies now covered. These moai have never been restored or re-erected - they are in the same positions as when work at the quarry suddenly and mysteriously ceased.

Many moai through the years are now partially buried

So basically, here's a theory of how it works. The moai was carved lying on its back with all details completed except eye sockets. The moai's back would then be chipped away at the spine from the tuff (hardened volcanic ash) and carefully slid down the volcano slope with ropes and pulleys and no doubt everyone hoped for no accidents!

Can you spot this 21-m moai still on its back?

It was lowered into a prepared pit or trench where the back of the moai may have had designs carved on it and then somehow transported to an ahu (platforms throughout the island) where it was erected, and the eye detail completely carved.

The largest moai ever carved (above), though not freed from the bedrock, was just under 21 m in length, 4 m across the shoulders, 1.5 m thick, and a weight greater than 200 tons! Even then, the bigger the better. (Largest moai ever placed on an ahu was 10 m high.)

There are numerous theories as to how the moai were transported and erected. An amazing feat considering the size and weight. If a moai broke, it was abandoned, even though it probably took a year or more to carve. Sorry, boss! The popular theory is that they were transported standing up, rolled on palm logs. It is believed that the island was originally covered in palms, but they were wiped out by the obsessive moai construction and transportation. Palm trees now present have been imported from Tahiti.

Half buried moai

We walked the many trails heading up and around the volcano, seeing so many fascinating moai.

What are they looking at?

A most unique moai was excavated in 1955 because of its unusual head shape and appearance (rounded head sporting a goatee). It was then discovered that it was kneeling, making it one of a kind.

Tukuturi - almost 4 m high

We also walked to the inside of the volcano where there was a lake and a few outriggers practicing for popular competitions. There were about 80 more moai to be seen around the lake, but we were not allowed to get close to these without a guide.

Very pretty scene in crater

Friday, December 09, 2011

To the beaches & more

Today we wanted to check out the only 2 beaches on all of Easter Island and give snorkelling a try. So we headed up to the north end of the island, about 30 km away.

Tahai - But our first stop of the day was a site called Tahai, only 1.5 km from Sea Turtle. This site was restored in 1968, meaning that the moai (statues) were raised to a standing position on their ahu (platform) which were also repaired. And 1 even had a replica set of white coral eyes added. The eyes show how alive the moai then appear.

Ahu Vai Uri - 5 moai were re-erected but 1 reposed that was too badly damaged to be restored and placed with others on Ahu Vai Uri was left in its found position.

Judy with the resolute ancients

Lone stone head - This crudely carved head was discovered in the rubble of the Ahu Vai Uri (above) and is perhaps the earliest human representation to be carved on Easter Island.


Ahu Ko Te Riko - It was decided to place a replica set of eyes in this 1 moai during restoration. As so few fragments of the original white coral & red scoria eyes have ever been found, it is believed that only a few were ever made and then used for ceremonial purposes. (Red scoria was the material also used for making the topknots.)

Look, I'm down here!

Also at this Tahira site, can be seen 1 of several canoe ramps on Easter Island made by the original people. There are only 2 sandy beaches on the entire island, making it a very difficult for them to land on the rocky shores.

Some islanders elongated their ears and some did not. Each clan made their moai as they were, with either long or short ears. But most moai never changed much over the years except in size and detail. Almost all moai face inland, overlooking and protecting the village, but there are a couple on the island that face out to sea. It is believed that when a village was near the sea, the moai that face out to sea were in fact overlooking a former village located there.

Anakena - Next stop was the beach at Anakena. Around 700 A.D., the first Polynesians landed on Anakena beach, as most of the rest of this island is rocky shored. We walked the beautiful white sand beach and then plunged into the warm ocean and snorkelled but saw very little ocean life in the clear waters. Disappointing. The ocean temperature ranges from 24° C in summer and 18° C in winter.

Palm trees, white sand, and moai

Ahu Nau Nau - There are 3 ahu at Anakena but the star is Ahu Nau Nau with 7 moai that display exquisite detail which had been preserved by being buried in the sand before being restored in 1978. Fragments of an original moai eye were discovered beneath this platform and is now on display in the Hanga Roa Museum.

More detail displayed in gallery photos

Ahu Ature Huki - This is the site where the first moai on the entire island was re-erected, by the legendary Thor Heyerdahl in 1956. There is a small brass plaque on the ahu commemorating the event but fencing restricts viewing of it.

Fence won`t allow us to get any closer (the beach is right behind this moai)

Ovahe - This is the second of the only 2 beaches on Easter Island and it is only about 1 km from Anakena beach. No tour buses go here and very few people so we wanted to check it out. It was a little difficult to find, but after many wrong turns, there it was! As predicted, there were only a couple of sunbathers in the small cove with glistening pink sand, and another couple of swimmers in the turquoise waters...heavenly...

Tiny cove of Ovahe beach with pink coloured sand

Te Pito Kura - We next stopped to see the largest moai that was ever successfully moved and erected (but not the largest ever carved). It is 10 m tall and weighs 80 tons and was also the last moai to be reposed, sometime after 1838.

Ahu Tongariki - 15 colossal moai, with the heaviest weighing 88 metric tons, on an ahu of 220 m long - the biggest ahu ever built. Wow! All of these moai were toppled during the warring period of 1770 to 1838 but were then restored from 1990 to 1996 after more damage of a 1960 mainland Chilean 9.3 earthquake and tsunami with waves of 11 m.

Of the 15 moai, only 1 with topknot

Travelling Moai - Japan financed the restoration of Ahu Tongariki in the 1990s with the contribution of a huge crane and $2 million. As mentioned above, moai had been previously toppled in the warring period but were then further damaged and tossed great distance in the 1960 tsunami. This moai visited Osaka and Tokyo in 1990.

The Travelling Moai, with Ahu Tongariki in background

After another exhausting and exhilarating day, when we returned to Sea Turtle we noticed by little muddy footprints that once again kids had been out in our dinghy and decided that we could no longer tie up to the stairway to get ashore.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Orongo & birdman festival

We purchased an excellent up-to-date book entitled A Companion to Easter Island by James Grant Peterkin and found it extremely useful. At the same location, we rented a motor scooter for 3 days as we knew we had a lot to see and would be travelling distances too far to walk. Our first choice was the restored ruins of the ceremonial village of Orongo.

Orongo is perched precipitously on the rim of the large volcanic crater Rano Kau. The site has a 1,000 m vertical drop to the sea on one side and a steep slope into the crater on the other side. It was about 7 km south from Hanga Roa (the only town on the island) along a twisting, winding, dirt road with lots of potholes, but a very scenic drive on our motor scooter.

We looked down at the crater's lake surface covered with mats of freshwater reeds. The vista in the other direction brought the blue expanse of the Pacific up past 3 small islets called motus. Moto Nui, the largest, was the arena for the "Birdman Competition". The tribes of Easter Island had been warring amongst themselves (1770-1838), with moai (statues) being toppled all over the island. It is believed that the Birdman Competition was started after this destructive period, giving the winning tribe leadership for the year - which was gained through physical prowess rather than status and rank.

Moto Nui in the far background

The Orongo village was only inhabited during the month long Birdman celebration and tough competition for which competitors may have prepared for all year long. We took photos directly in front of the stone "row" houses that people involved with the ceremonies used, not knowing that it is a definite no-no to get off the path and up close. Pictures are allowed but no one is allowed to be this close as the park ranger informed us when he pointed out the signs. These houses were only used for sleeping or a respite from bad weather, and cooking, etc. was all done outdoors. Some of the houses had indoor passages between them.

1 of 54 village houses restored from 1974 to 1976

The Orongo site was used previously for religious ceremonies but construction of the village made it the most important center across the whole island for rituals. The stone village houses were oriented to face out to the 3 islets.

Upon a signal, the competitors would scale down the steep cliffs, swim 3 km on a pora (a reed surfboard) with a few supplies to 1 of the islets called Moto Nui (big islet) where they would camp in caves, anxiously waiting...

And the first to claim the newly laid egg of a Sooty Tern bird, that turned up annually to nest, would be the winner. But then he would also have to swim back, climb back up the cliff and return to Orongo, without breaking his claimed egg which he would carry in a pouch tied to his head. This was considered a very big honour for the competitor, even if he was performing for his Chief who would then be named as the official Birdman of the year. The last competition was held in 1866 when it was discouraged by Catholic missionaries as the event involved worshipping of false gods.

Unfortunately, the 1 statue that bridges both the moai and Birdman periods was removed from one of the stone houses in 1868 and is now located in the British Museum in London. It was made of basalt which was not the usual material for statues, has notable carvings on its back, and was probably used in the coronation of the Birdman. We never saw any moai at Orongo and only the remains of 1 ahu (statue platform).

Vinapu - After a very self-informative afternoon at Orongo (only 1 descriptive sign and no pamphlets), we left and headed to the SW corner of the island to the nearby site called Vinapu. Vinapu displays 2 of the stone platforms called ahu and several toppled moai with their faces in the dirt. But what is so unusual about the ahu at this site is the perfectly carved tight fitted stone blocks, up to 6 tons in weight, with no cracks or holes between them, reminiscent of the Incas in the Cuzco Valley of Peru.

Precision work on Vinapu 1 (also called Tahira)

Also here is a red statue made entirely from red scoria that is believed to be a female moai. Firstly, very few female moai have ever been found, and secondly, red scoria was used to carve the topknots and eye pupils - not the statues themselves. The topknots are the large crowning of the moai and sort of look like hats to me!

Typical topknot

We then returned to Sea Turtle whereupon a returning fisherman asked us if we wanted some fish. Of course we graciously accepted; he then scaled 2 fish and gave us his recipe. We figured if it comes from a seasoned fisherman, it must be good - it was delicious!
Fisherman Recipe
Have a pan of water (large enough to contain the fish) heating to a boil while you remove scales and discard innards of fish. Do not cut off head, tail, etc. Cut diagonal slices into each side of the fish. Sprinkle with a seasoning salt on both sides of the fish, into the slices you made, and into the gut cavity. Fry the fish for only a couple of minutes on each side. Then place the quickly fried fish into the boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes and then thoroughly enjoy the delectable, moist taste.
Scaled, cleaned, and sliced

We got into our dinghy and noticed how dirty it had become. While we were gone, kids had climbed in with their muddy little bare feet and paddled around the harbour. They had earlier asked when we first left the dinghy by the stairs and we said no as we were worried about the safety of both the dinghy and the kids. They took it out anyways unapologetically! We guessed it's the way here.

Later that evening, we came back to town to watch a 1993 movie that is shown 3 nights/week at the Hotel Manavai called Rapa Nui (Polynesian for Easter Island). While watching the movie, I tasted my first Pisco Sour, a very delicious and well known alcoholic beverage throughout Chile. The movie was filmed on Easter Island and produced by Kevin Costner. It has great scenes of Easter Island and the love story is about the Birdman Competition. If you can find a copy, rent it! The events depicted in the film are pretty much as it was, anthropologically speaking.

After a long and exhausting but fulfilling day, we fell asleep very quickly as we anticipated what tomorrow would bring.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Getting ashore

My biggest fear of coming to Easter Island was not the passage but in the event that we had to anchor out, would the weather be co-operative enough so that we could both go ashore at the same time? At anchor, you are required to always leave someone on board. Apparently, the weather is unpredictable and winds can, in a short time change, necessitating a dash to the lea side of the island. But fortunately, we were able to make it into the tiny cramped harbour and no doubt because we had come in December which is Easter Island's summer season. The weather was hot and sunny with not too much wind.

After arriving on December 6th at 20:00, we spent our first night anchored in the company of a small freighter out in front of Easter Island's only town, Hanga Roa. Shortly after anchoring, we made contact with the Port Authority on Channel 16, as required. Their office was overlooking us. Arrangements were made to process our entry to this Chilean port for the next morning when we were duly boarded and processed by 6 friendly officers from various departments. They confiscated our honey and gave instructions such as "No garbage ashore" and "You must have a pilot to enter Harbour Piko" (the tiny harbour only 4 m deep just around the rocky point).

They also said that we could bring no fruits or veggies ashore and all such, including any that we purchased at Easter Island would have to be eaten before we arrived at mainland Chile (Puerto Montt) our next destination. We got some friendly chuckles when they asked if we had guns and Jordan's answer was "Oh, no. We are Canadians."

As they left, we asked them to send a pilot out and soon a fisherman in a panga showed up and said he needed to get police approval and would be back in 2 hours.

Our electronic charts showed range markers for the harbour entry but we had read that the local word was that when the range markers were installed by the Chilean government they didn't consult the locals and the path was dangerously close to a reef of hull-eating volcanic rocks. So after waiting a bit, we motored over to the harbour approach and waited for our pilot. We watched various fishing boats and the self-propelled barges offloading freighters going in and out of the perilous entrance.

The pilot was a no-show and we were anxious to get ashore so when a barge made its run in, we decided to follow close behind while I made notes of GPS waypoints. We discovered that there are definite discrepancies between CMap (our electronic charts), the GPS, and Google Earth (before leaving Ecuador, Jordan printed Google Earth photos and their lats & longs for certain points).

Using a bow anchor, we Med tied in Harbour Piko with the hospitable help of a local (S27°09.271' W109°26.355'). We were sandwiched between the many other boats, mostly fishing pangas, but included the very up-to-date coast guard rescue boat. Our bow anchor had securely snagged debris so when Jordan dove in the clear water to attach an anchor retrieval line, he saw a large sea turtle swim beneath him and he playfully grabbed him for a short tow! Jordan left the anchor hooked as it provided the best holding for such a short scope.

Sea Turtle IV's resting place was right in front of a moai (pronounced mo' eye), one of the many legendary, resolute, stone statues that make Easter Island famous. We were only about 10 feet from the concrete jetty but still needed our dinghy as a shuttle.

Sea Turtle and moai Ahu Riata

We walked to town along the waterfront under the hot sun. We passed by the Port Authority's office, a campground that must rent out its tents as they all looked similar, a very long and expensive looking hotel complex under final stages of construction, and more moai.

Movement is via cars, trucks, taxis, horses, motorcycles and scooters and of course walking. We did not notice any houses or businesses in down-trodden condition and everything seemed to be modern enough. I guess we were expecting this remote island to be more destitute, however we found it to have a higher standard than, say Ecuador. But we also noticed how terribly expensive everything is!!

Modern houses and means of transportation

Easter Island has many activities and places to keep you busy:
  • A few pubs and discos - some that close early and some that don't even get started till late
  • Church
  • Dance shows (including a cultural festival the first 2 weeks of February)
  • Diving/snorkelling/surfing
  • Mountain biking/fishing/horse riding
  • Restaurants, shopping
  • Tour guides and companies (and of course touring on your own as we did)
  • Watching sunrises, sunsets, and southern stargazing
  • And yes, you can even get a safe tattoo with designs the most unusual in the entire Pacific!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Easter Island dream

Jordan and I wrote the following tidbit of our 19-day voyage (the more descriptive aspects are definitely from Jordan's creative mind!)

We were off at 07:00 on November 17th as we let loose the ties of the 2 mooring balls, leaving behind Bahía de Caráquez Ecuador and heading for the grandeur of Easter Island Chile. We crossed the bar with Carlos aboard Sea Turtle as our pilot (from Puerto Amistad) and a new friend, Rob of SV Joyeux, as a substitute driver for the pilot boat. Carlos then jumped ship onto the pilot boat as we all waved goodbye with fond wishes. This was our longest passage to date. Easter Island, described by some as the remotest island in the world, is 117 square km and about 3,700 km from the South American west coast.

Carlos jumping from Sea Turtle to join Rob

We immediately picked up the SW trades, tracking west in light to medium winds under cloud cover. The seas were busy during the first couple of days with pangas, tuna trawlers, freighters, and even a southbound sailboat. After that, we were alone, spotting no other traffic for the rest of our voyage. It had become evident that we were venturing over seas much less travelled.

With Sea Turtle's lazy creaks and groans, she and Jordan and I soon settled into the rhythm of the passage. We were able to cook decent meals throughout the passage thanks to fiddles and gimbals (good name for a country & western band!) Only a couple incidents of runaway swill. We had several bananas ripen at once so Jordan made banana loaf and banana pancakes while I worked on creating the Chile flag.

Note how the sewing machine is tied to the table in the rough seas!

What did we do to pass the time? Read, boat jobs, cook, watch movies, read, write, talk, fiddle practice, read, play scrabble, clean, read...

The evening skies (when there wasn't cloud cover) were more exquisite than ever before, the purest and most complete starry exposition. Brilliant blue white sparkles and speckles penetrated the moonless inky black canopy. It was the "full meal deal", the "high def wide screen". It was so magical and unbelievable, and all the more so on moonless nights.

And with no cloud cover, we also welcomed the return of the moon at night. It was nice to be able to see the distinct horizon between the night sky and the steely sea as a relief from the preceding nights of mono obfuscation. With the waves rolling in the moon's shimmering reflection, it seemed that we were moving so much faster than we were.

We were also starting to enjoy sunny skies again, with the deep blue that the sea offers up to the sun. Very vivid blue seas, almost a deep purple.

After 2 weeks at sea, we could no longer make Ham radio contact. Just too far from towers, I guess. We both hoped our families would not worry as we said we would make contact IF possible.

One evening, we had a very blustery sail. Jordan put 2 reefs in the main sail, but by early daylight, he brought the main down altogether and couldn't let the boom out enough for the winds. Ended up sailing with just a furled headsail.

Our fish tale: We had lots of flying fish join us on deck, but only 1 squid. Jordan lost 4 fish, released 2 Skipjacks (we don't enjoy the taste), and caught a huge Dorado which fed us for several delicious meals - it was 46 inches long! Another Dorado that he tried to land actually broke the fish hook; the fish are very large way out here.

Way to go - almost 4 feet long!

About 150 NM from our destination, we started feeling the effects of the seasonal high that hangs out around the vicinity. Elusive wind, sunny skies, and the barometer creeping up. The pilot charts for this time of year puts the high just slightly southeast of Easter Island but Jordan's earlier GRIB download showed it much farther to the east with an elongation extending west.

We flew the spinnaker/drifter twice on the rare occasion when the winds deserted us. The first was for several hours, but on the second time, the wind was so poor that it couldn't even keep the spinnaker filled. So we reluctantly resorted to the purr of the Perkin's motor.

Jordan observed as he watched the waves that waves aren't just waves. They're ripples. Then there are ripples on wavelets. And wavelets on waves and waves on swells that are on even larger swells. One day as we were getting close to Easter Island, these larger weary swells were so broad, 200, maybe 250 m ridge to ridge. Regiments marching north from some distant battle fought with fierce elements in the lower treacherous southern latitudes, marching till they forget. Curiously, smaller swells rolling in the opposite direction were noticed. Young replacements.

After months of blue water sailing, Jordan was just beginning to hear what the waves were telling him. Even in the night, they would wake him as he detected a slight change in their action against the hull. He would know, for example, without lifting his head from the pillow, that we were just passing the back side of a rain cloud that was kicking up a steep chop.

Sunrise on morning of land ho!

LAND HO!! We spotted land about 50 NM off in the distance on December 6th at 10:45!


We averaged 121.5 NM per day, ran the engine 44.5 hours (using only 1/4 of our total fuel supply), and sailed the vast majority of the time, even topping over 7 knots per hour which is fast for little Sea Turtle. We reached Easter Island (Isla de Pascua in Spanish or Rapa Nui in Polynesian) after only 19.5 days at sea which seemed to fly by - we were not expecting to arrive for 24 days. We anchored at (S27°08.777' W109°26.153') after a passage of 2,369 NM at an average speed of 5.06 knots per hour.

Time to explore this place of our long-awaited dreams!