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Approaching Easter Island

Updated: 5 hours ago

Today is our last full day of sailing to Easter Island and the weather is set for another fine day. The last few days have been amazing. We've gone from 0 to 7 on the Beaufort scale and seen whales, hammerhead sharks and still lots of birds, including new shearwaters and petrels which come from Polynesia, rather than South America. In the quieter moments, we've had presentations from the scientists on board and in the friskier times, it has been all-hands-on-deck to put sails up and down (sometimes at night) to match the wind. Here's a snapshot of dawn in the doldrums - till the sixes and sevens of the evening watch.

A depression, moving over Easter Island in a South Westerly direction is the reason the wind and waves changed. You can see our course in this photo and imagine the centre of the depression moving away as we sail forward - saving us from a force 9 gale 😊 though we did have some dramas before sunset - it was really hard to keep all the plates and glasses on the tables during mealtimes .....

This video is my best shot at sharing how it feels - and the effect it has on the water from the tap in my cabin might make you smile ....

Look at the waves behind laconic Douglas .....

For those who retreated to the salon there was a presentation about Grant's favourite bird - the Nicobar Pigeon with the flamboyant colours, which looked as if it had just been painted by Gaugin or Picasso 😊 There was also another brilliant Dutch card game to try .... before a well-earned sun-downer with a sunset getting later every day and possibly not happening till 8pm in Easter Island!

In the morning, we had to change our plans a little. The weather at the capital, Hanga Roa, was too rough to anchor there. So we got permission to land in Anakena beach - the very place that the Polynesian kings first arrived and took over the island. We are the little red boat in the map below and arrived to the North East, rather than the westerly bay near the airport in the south, after sailing 2,233 nautical miles from the Galapagos.

There are red-headed Moai to welcome us - though not natural redheads: the Rapa Nui people never cut their long black hair but mulched in a red dye and twisted it into a red top-knot as a mark of status. What initially looked like a little Moai welcome party was actually a collection of Moai looking inward to protect their people.

Disembarking in a national park took a lot of officialdom - but it was time to say goodbye to everyone and, especially, mates in the blue watch ....

I could have sailed on for oceans more and it was really sad to say goodbye to everyone and leave the ship in the bay - for the next crew and the next leg of the Darwin 200 expedition.

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1 Comment

Chris Abbott
Chris Abbott
3 days ago

Seeing is believing - but what you have seen is incredible!!

Love the Nicobar pigeon - gorgeously flamboyant colouring!!

I guess that there aren't too many efficient predators....

Cheers, Chris A

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