April 13th, 2015


Sunrise, diving, and sunset

I had the squits during the night and felt tired and weakened in the morning when W got up to see the sunrise over Ahu Tongariki. After a few hours sleep I felt much better but when W returned with tales of glorious skies I stayed in bed reading Britton Shepardson's book Moai: a new look at old faces. It is an account of his archaeological research aimed at a popular audience and I am not sure that it is entirely successful at bridging the academic and the popular but I enjoyed the read. He is scathing about many of his predecessors and peers and sometimes I wondered if he was trying to curry favour with Rapanui readers but I liked many of his attitudes; particularly his aversion to invasive archaeology like digging.

W had gone to book more dives and then sat at Mikafe. She sent a text proposing lunch at 'Empanadas XL' and I was feeling almost fully recovered so I joined her there for a huge fried tuna and tomato salad empanada. It was delicious. After that we went to Mikafe where I sat drinking coffee and water and then returned to the hotel while W made two more dives with Tina. Once again I had a long conversation with Estaban.

As evening drew in we walked across to Tahai in gentle rain. As the rain got stronger the people grew fewer and the chance of a visually rewarding sunset also dwindled. The rain was soon falling in sheets and we were soaked by the time it stopped. The only other person on the site was a jocular American from Santa Clara, California. He was new to the island and eager to see the highlights so he expected to see us again at Ahu Tongariki in the morning.

Throughout our time here we had been surprised by the placidity of the stray dogs. We had commented that we had yet to hear a a South American dog bark. Then, as we sat by the ahu in the company of a horse and several quiet dogs, two of them started barking at the horse. We had not seen the horse move, let alone do anything to antagonise the dogs and both of them had started to bark together so it was not as if one had excited the other. After a minute or so the fuss subsided. The horse stayed unmoved and unmoving. The dogs returned to amiable aimless ambling. It was a most curious incident.

We had no dining plans so we decided to go to our as yet unvisited 'nice place' but as we passed Te Moana on our way to Fisherman's Wharf we were seduced by its Polynesian appearance, its lighting and its chalk boards. Rather than sit outside on the ocean terrace we chose a table at the outer edge of its roofed area. We decided to test the cocktails before making a choice of where to eat. But the pisco sours were our best yet and the passing food looked great. We chose grilled fish and had no regrets. It was our best meal on the island.

W paid great attention to the drains and the footpaths on the way back to the hotel. Sergio Rapu was at the computer in reception with Esteban but he ignored us and I was disinclined to initiate a conversation when his reticence seemed likely to be deliberate.