Easter Island is a very remote island off the west coast of Chile. It takes about 5 hours to fly from Santiago to Easter Island some 2,300 miles away. Imagine traveling by plane over the ocean about the distance between our country’s east coast and west coast and landing on a piece of land only 63 square miles in size. That is only the size of some of our country’s larger cities. People go to this island to see the giant statues made by island people many years ago.
The nearly 900 statues on Easter Island are found all around the island. The statues are called Moai and weigh over a hundred thousand pounds a piece. The mystery of how they were made, why they were made, and how they were moved to their locations have enchanted visitors for years. The people who lived on the island told others that the statues walked to where they now stand. If you will notice from the picture you received in your box, the statue is only partly visible. The head was the only part above ground; the body buried. Do you think the bodies were purposefully buried or do you think the land changed and the bodies were covered as a result?
There are many really interesting articles to be found about the early settlers and the culture that developed. The island, people, and culture are called Rapi Nui, meaning naval of the earth. I encourage you to take a look at these articles as they are very interesting. Some of the questions the sites will answer for you: How did the first people get to this island and what was the island like when they got there? Why and how did they build these statues? How did they move the statues that are so very heavy? Where are all the trees? Click here for an article by NPR. Check this site to learn about the bird man. This video portrays the loss of trees to be due to overuse of the trees – deforestation but other sites have claimed that rats that snuck on the boats that came to the island were responsible. They claim that the rats ate the roots of the trees and this caused the demise of the forests. What do you think?
The island was created by the eruption of volcanoes and the triangular shaped island is framed by 3 main volcanoes today. It has been said that Easter Island was only part of the land that had been there and that the other part sank. Imagine how it would feel to see part of the land sink beneath the sea, especially when you are so very far away from any other land!
There are a lot of fun things to do on the island but it does seem to be a more “laid back” place to visit. Surfing is excellent. There are many caves to explore on the island – LOTS of caves. In fact, it has the largest volcanic cave system in all of Chile. Read this to learn more about the caves.
If we were on the island at the end of January and first week of February we could enjoy watching and participating in the Tapati Festival, a celebration of the people and culture started in the 1970s. It looks like fun. Here is a site that tells you about the festival. There are some nice videos on that site that show you the dancing competitions. I liked the sledding down the hills.