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The Highs and Lows of Easter Island – April 3-4, 2012

With my formal tours done, I scheduled myself for two additional adventures while on the island. On the afternoon of April 3rd, I scheduled myself for some scuba diving. I signed up for a 45 min dive around 25 deep off the coast of Hanga Roa. Meanwhile, for the next morning, before my flight back to San Francisco via Peru, I signed up for horseback riding up Mount Teravaka… the highest point on Easter Island.

Scuba Diving

There were a few dive shops at the pier. I went for Mika Rapa’s.  Fortunately for me, I had my NAUI Certification Card with with me just in case anyone asked to see that I was a certified diver

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It was actually quite painless to sign up. The dive just cost $60 whether you are a beginner, or a seasoned diver. In my case, I was teamed up with a Frenchman who has as “rescue” certification. What that simply means is that we were on our way immediately while the beginners go through their orientation.

I suited up. Tried on some fins… and we were off.

The first stop after getting off the boat was a site called the “Underwater Moai”. Obviously its not a real Moai. After all, why would the natives place a Moai so far off the coast. Anyway, it was obviously placed there for tourism purposes.

The one thing you will notice is how blue the water is. I have never seen water so blue. Clear and blue.

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The underwater Moai was definitely a nice starting point for the dive.

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The dive itself was quite as expected. Though I must say is that, while the water is so clear… and blue. The experience as a whole was ho-hum. Mind you, I have been diving for pretty much 20 years and I have seen a lot of underwater scenery from all over the Philippines.

Diving in Easter Island was fun by itself. But the corals were pretty much a bland grey-blue-pink color. Typical coral. There was a an assortment of fish… but not very colorful. Simply put… a dive off the coast of Batangas will give you a more colorful array of corals and fish.

But once again, that doesn’t take away the experience of diving in the middle of Pacific Ocean in the most remote diving spot on Earth.

 

Horseback Riding

There is only so much you can reach via a car on Easter Island. My guides had suggested that I take the horseback riding trip up Mount Teravaka… which is the highest point on the island.

Mount Terevaka

I was warned that the entire trip would take 3-4 hours. This would have been the longest horse back ride I would ever take. An experience I would feel in my body for the next three days.

My guide Matti, picked me up from the hotel at around 8:30 am and took me to his farm where the horses were stabled. While waiting, I met up with one of his dogs. I later found out out that this dude was one of three dogs who would accompany me up the mountain.

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And we were off. We made our way through a number of fields and dirt roads.

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Then we started to ascend up Mount Teravaka. You can see the two other dogs leading the way.

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After around 2 hours… we finally reached the top of Mount Teravaka.

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The scenery was awesome. With the whole island practically devoid of trees, you could see all around directly to the water.

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Here is a panoramic shot I took while at the top. You could actually look 360 degrees around the island.

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We stayed up there for a little less than 30 minutes. After looking around and admiring the scenery, there wasn’t much else to do… and I wasn’t about to get off my horse.

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So after a while. We made our trek back down the mountain.

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As with most of my trips…with proper scheduling I was the only one en route up Teravaka. But on the way down, we met up with several hikers or others on horseback on their way up the mountain.  Timing wise was also great. Because by the time I got down, it was almost time for lunch.

Our trip down was a little faster. Just around 1.5 hours… not so much because it was going downhill, but because our last stop wasn’t all the way back to the farm. We ended up at Ahu Aviki.

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Meanwhile… here are the three dogs that accompanied me up the mountain… just doing their thing.

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While waiting for Matti to pick me up,  I took some more additional pictures at Ahu Aviki which was great because the sun and sky were just great!

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I was a great day this far.

With these last two adventures I would have been around 4/5 of the entire island, go to one of the lowest points underwater, and on the highest peak of the island. What a great way to end my adventure on Easter Island. AWESOME!

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From here I would make my way back to the hotel… have lunch… and prepare for my trip back to the airport and fly back to San Francisco.