Well it’s 6:31 Easter Island time and I’m about 25 minutes out from Santiago, Chile. Where to begin.
Yesterday was an incredible day from start to finish! The team got into the truck since we would be heading through some rough country. As we were getting ready to head out, a new addition to our crew this week, Katleen, arrived by motorcycle instead of on her bicycle as usual. She had been knocked off her bike by a car which almost hit her and forced her to skid off the road. We sent her inside to get her wounds cleaned up while we headed off to CONF Park to pick up plants and make arrangements with the park team about where to meet in Poike Peninsula.
By about 9:30 we head picked up Katleen & Paul (a physicist/ photographer/archaeologist buff friend of Sonia’s) and were under way. It took about 3/4 of an hour to get to Poike where the boys from the park, Pascal and Christos, dug holes for us; we added some green vermiculite, cut the plants out of their green bags, and planting them firmly in the ground. In about 3/4 of an hour, we had planted 96 trees in the red volcanic ash there, encouraged by the section next to ours by the growth of the trees planted by an Earthwatch team 5 years ago. We’ve all decided to check on them regularly on GoogleEarth. (I told my plants I would check on them every 6 months.)
We went further into Poike to where two knolls form the shape of a turtle. Then the rest of the team climbed down a sheer cliff to The Virgin Cave (featured prominently in the Kostner movie) which had to be crawled into and was dark. Being claustrophobic and having a fear of heights, I waited at the truck.
On the way back, we ran into some ranchers who gave us a message that the Park truck was at the tree site looking for their boys. So we had to detour to Rano Raraku (which I had missed on Sunday) in order to radio our position to the truck. We had a good look around, the truck came and we said goodbye to our new friends and headed back to the hotel.
I was able to get a bit of shopping in and a rest before dinner. Dinner was a party. Sonia & Francisco had invited Katleen and her partner, Henri, who when a very young boy, worked with Jacques Cousteau. He has his own diving school in Hanga Roa and has worked all over the world. We had a great time, marvellous dinner, and afterwards, we’re joined by Diane, a granddaughter of Cousteau who is working on her dissertation and working with Sonia and the school children on the island to increase their awareness of the erosion on the island and how they can help through reforestation. It was pretty late when we finally said our good nights and headed to our rooms to start packing.