Having settled in to Easter Island life today we decided to step it up a notch with our exploring.
We started the day with a 9km hike along the rough southern coast of the island, along the terrifying cliffs and then up the steep side of the main volcano.
The main volcano is dormant and the long cooled central crater has since filled with rain water and been populated with deep green rushes, an odd species of endemic fish, and its own unique micro ecology of other flora and fauna. It looked incredibly beautiful.
The crater also was the sight of the famous annual Bird-Man competition last run in the late 1800s. The competitors climbed down the side of the volcano into the sea, swam out to a remote islette through shark invested waters to steal a bird's egg, they swam back, reclimbed the mountain and presented the unbroken egg to the king. The first back won a virgin and had to go into seclusion for a year at the moai quarry. Oddly.
Unsurprisingly the competition has long died out - not least because the island has run out of willing virgins!
In the afternoon we visited said moai quarry to take a look at the birth place of the icon Easter Island statues. All the statues were created there and transported around the island by a means no-one is sure. Some say they "walked".
We were frankly stunned by these amazing big-nosed sculptures and I don't think we will ever see anything quite so awe inspiring.
Carved out of volcanic rock by hand these massive monoliths were in turns beautiful, majestic, and characture-like.
After visiting the quarry we walked along the route the moai took as they "walked" around the island.
I don't think we will ever see anything quite like it again.