Phil and Shirley are continuing their exploration of South America and heading to Australia and Asia…..
This was undoubtedly one of the focal points of our voyage, as it’s not the sort of place that you get to visit just like that. Shirley had dreamed of visiting ‘Rapa Nui’ almost all of her life, and the news on Wednesday morning that the weather was not good for landing was almost too much for her. However, ships are ships and one cannot control the weather, or port officials.
The weather was just within safe limits but Chilean bureaucracy decreed that we should be delayed on arrival for four hours, until the relevant bribes were paid. The purser was heard shouting “either clear us now or we leave!”.
We were soon cleared and our ship’s boats began the shuttle service to take us ashore from the anchorage.
The island was “discovered” by the Dutch one Easter Day in the 18th Century, although the original Rapa Nui people who probably came from Tahiti hundreds of years earlier, would probably dispute that.
Peru took half of its population into slavery, and the rest all but died out due to de-forestation and crop failures, before Chile took the island after their victorious war with Peru in the 19th Century. It has been a part of Chile ever since.
It is an island close to paradise, with its sub-tropical climate, friendly Rapa Nui and Chilean people, and of course the mysterious stone statues of the ancestors standing guard over all. We were ashore for four or five hours before surfing back to our ship, never to forget our visit.
Not Hinton, but “Black Watch” – with more than a thousand people on board we are a rather parochial village! We have several pubs, a church (on Sundays), several shops, two launderettes, to say nothing of hairdressers and the doctor’s surgery.
Like all villages we have gossipers and gossip, we have women who want to be men and men who want to be women – and dress, dance etc accordingly. We have nice people and not-so-nice people, and we sometimes get fights! – usually between women in the launderette over the use of a dryer.
Altogether though, everyone gets on well as we gently move around the world. At the moment we’re in New Zealand, then heading for Australia , Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia before Sri Lanka, the Maldives etc on our way home.
Village life really does grow on you
Much love xxx Phillip & Shirley