So with that sobering context, here is the island. And despite this tragic history it is a magical place. There is an abundance of easygoing island simplicity and a certain stark beauty to the island in its current state.

I arrived and rented a bike and (after stopping in at the grocery store for some food and beer) I rode due south out of the one and only town on the island (Hanga Roa) and up the side of Rano Kau, the volcanic crater that forms the southern part of the island. It was hot and humid, and I had all of the camera gear lashed to me, but the view from the top was sublime, down into the caldera and out across the ocean.

I got up very early the next day to go see sunrise at Ahu Tongariki, which is a line of 15 Moai (the big stone carved heads) at a sheltered cove on the east side of the island. Then it was to the volcano Rano Raraku, the nursery of the moai. On a lovely grassy hillside, various stone heads peer out across the island and to the ocean below. Some are unfinished, and still lying on their backs in the rock. I walked around for a while and made my way up and into the crater, where there are more Moai, and finally all the way up onto the rim for a fantastic view.

The next several days sort of fell out of time. I rented a little jeepy thing for a day. I rented a bike and rode around the island a bunch. I went to the beach every day. Rather than neurotically account for every minute of my time on the island, here are photos of some of the major archaeological sights on the island, followed by some photos of other sights.

Ahu Tongariki

Sporting a pukao.

The gang is all here.

A good example of typical ahu arrangement: small stones overlaid by a pattern of larger tidal-rounded stones.

I had to wait around a bit for some people to show up and provide scale.

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009