Day 5: Sun, Rain and Volcanos

Sunrise over Hotuiti

My alarm woke me up quite a bit before sunrise. My plan was to get to the Hotuiti moai site, a fair distance from town, for some sunrise photos. It had rained during the night and I could really feel the damp air. My body shook for warmth while I was managing to keep the scooter straight.

When I arrived at the site, I was surprised that I was the only one there. It took sometime for the crowds to arrive and by then I had found a good spot. The sun was somewhat in and out among the clouds, but brief moments allowed for some nice light. Then it started to rain. The crowd dispersed, but I waited, shielding my camera from the rain. The wait was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow. It was still raining and I couldn’t take the photo without getting rain on the lens. A couple of people saw me and offered up an umbrella, it allowed me to get the shot that I wanted.

Close to this site is the Raraku quarry, the birthplace of the moai. There are many unfinished moai here. Some are buried and some are still in the rock. It’s really amazing how many can be found. I took a number of photos before continuing along a path to Raraku’s volcanic crater. A lake now fills the crater, making for a scenic place to have a break. More unfinished or unmoved moai can be seen along the crater’s edges. It’s still a mystery how the moai were transported from here to distant locations on the island.

As I was leaving the quarry, I noticed my handheld GPS was missing. I had it in my pocket and wondered if it fell out when I was taking a low angle shot. I traced my steps throughout the site and couldn’t find it. I also asked anyone who could understand English if they had seen it, but no luck! It was disappointing, it is really helpful for finding my way around in bigger places, like Lima. I accepted that I might have lost it and started driving back to town. On the way I saw a battery on the road, the same type that would have been in my GPS. I pulled over, picked up the battery, then another, then saw the whole unit. It looked like it had been ran over several times and the batteries were mangled, but it still worked!

My next stop was the Tere Vaka, another extinct volcano and the highest point on the island. In fact, it’s the highest point for 2,836 kilometers, and it’s only 511 meters. The walk is fairly peaceful and at the top are a couple of small craters. The summit is quite wide, so it’s hard to see the entire island from one point, but the craters were quite interesting to me. They’re quite green and one even had a tree growing in it. I sat on the summit for a bit, just taking in the views.

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