Thursday, December 31, 2009

Worrying about My Nazca Tour

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So we are running behind, between the late departure from Easter Island and unexpectedly strong winds (the apparent wind on deck the other day was 45 mph) Captain Fabio (yes, really) has been unable to keep to our schedule. The announcement of the delay in reaching Pisco was funny – you could tell something was wrong long before they got to the WHAT was wrong part.

I’ve worried that it would screw up my Nazca overflight (Mike has been checking in regularly to ensure everything was still on track), but a quick call now yielded a confirmation from Lee Ann that we are still on, just at a later time. “Be the first off the ship and don’t dilly dally.” As long as we are starting off as early as we can, we should be in good shape. . . besides, this is Peru, it’s unlikely everything would have gone as scheduled even if we had arrived in port on time.

I hope it all works out.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Previous post: Isolation

I’m not sure whether humans settle into routines because we crave the comfort of familiarity or simply because it is easy and requires little thought, for example: “I sat here yesterday and nothing bad happened, so I’ll sit there again today.”

The ship operates on a schedule that generally only varies in content from day to day – a range of activities is held every day, although the topic or time for the activity may change. Occasionally they will flip things around and cause a conflict, like scheduling dance lessons and bridge at the same time.

So around this we have come to develop a routine of our own. Lately we've been losing an hour each day (although now we should be done with that for quite some time), so we wake up late (by the new time); have breakfast on the fantail (sometimes alone, sometimes with friends); play with photos and/or read until ballroom dance lessons at 10:30 or 11:00 (the instructors are also our table mates and very nice); more photo editing and/or reading while listening to the trivia contest underway across the room; buffet lunch on the fantail (sometimes alone, sometimes with friends); photo editing and/or reading; maybe the afternoon lecture (me) while Lane is playing bridge; photo editing/reading/napping; a work-out in the fitness center; a late dinner in the main dining room with our assigned (but very nice) table mates; and then if we have any energy left we will do star gazing, I'll use the net, or we'll go dancing. Usually we just go to bed! (We haven’t gone to any of the shows for more than three minutes. It just isn’t our thing.)

While we are assigned to a specific table at the late seating for dinner, we could eat dinner elsewhere at any time that pleases us. We haven’t though, in large part because I’ve come to enjoy socializing with our table mates (six of us share a table, with Lazlo and Pelton as our waiters) and observing the buzz of the dining room. Lane and I keep moving into different spots at our table (I swear everyone else in the room sits in the exact same chair every night), which keeps our wait staff on their toes. (Our small attempt to break up the daily routine.) We have already reached the point where we take turns buying and sharing the wine at dinner and are usually among the last table to leave.

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Previous post: Seascape

Apparently someone on the ship has been on line doing research and determined that there isn’t another ship within at least 300 miles of here. There are no shipping lanes in this part of the Pacific, no real reason for anyone to be here (the usual route between Easter Island and the mainland would run to the south of us, connecting to Santiago) . We really are in the middle of nowhere!

Next post: Routines

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Previous post: Scenery

Sites where moai stood can be found all along Rapa Nui’s coast.

While the historical record is mostly blank, it is clear that some sort of catastrophe – either environmental or interpersonal in nature or, most likely, a combination of the two – led to the collapse of the sophisticated society that had existed on Rapa Nui. By the time Cook reached the islands on Easter Sunday in 17???? , the rich fields described by earlier explorers appeared abandoned and virtually all of the moai had been toppled face-down onto the ground.

Eventually all of the island’s the moai were knocked over. Those standing on the island today have all been put back up in their original locations. Vinapu is one of many areas where the moai still lay exactly where they fell several hundred years ago.

Besides the fallen moai, the ruins at Vinapu site also provide an example of some of the finest stonework that was done on the island, stonework like that found in far away Incan ruins.

It is an evocative place.

Next post: Rano Kau

Rapa Nui Scenery

Previous post: Ahu Akivi

Ahu Akivi

Previous post: At the Harbor

The moai at Ahu Akivi are distinct because they face the sea (our guide tells us that they actually faced a village at one time), unlike the usual moai lining the shore and facing inland.

(Like all moai on the island, these were knocked over at some point in time, but have since been put back together.)

Next post: Scenery

At the Harbor

Previous post: Dawn

Despite the crashing waves, a small breakwater creates an equally small harbor at Hanga Piko pier, which is where the ship’s tenders take us.

It does not look like a place that sees many tourists.

Easter Island is one of those weird places that is largely dependent on tourism, yet seems largely uninterested in it.

I need to spend more time here NOW, while this place still hangs between two worlds, before the resorts and boutiques move in.

Next post: Ahu Akivi