Reflections on Leaving Rapa Nui

by watch captain Kimo Lyman

It was with a mixture of emotions as we left ten days ago--sadness departing from good friends made in a short time, excitment about the open sea, wonder at whether we'd even clear the channel. But the surf laid down and after a beautiful blessing by Francisco Nahoe of Rapa Nui of both vessels and crew, we were on our way. Laden down to her lines with last minute donations of bananas, sweet potato, bananas, cabbage, pineapple, and more bananas, Hokule'a cleared Hanga Piko harbor on Tuesday afternoon, November 9.

Rapa Nui, Isla de Pascua, Easter Island, is a land of rugged beauty with a treacherous coastline, lots of offshore rocks, pounding surf and only two white sand beaches; Anakena, where Hoku was officially welcomed and Ovahe. The people are handsome, fit and enjoy a healthy diet with mostly locally produced vegetables and fresh fish.

Contrary to what a lot of us crew bringing Hokule'a back home were led to believe, there were lots of green, good sized eucalyptus stands, plenty of pasture land and much diversified agriculture on Rapa Nui. We were fortunate to stay with Ines Teave at her family farm, mauka of the main town of Hanga Roa, where it was cool and quiet. After working on the canoe preparing for our leg, inventorying, stocking, and training, we'd head for the farm and dinner. Helping pull weeds in the pineapple patch was good for our host and us, knowing that there would be no soil for the next three or four weeks. Relaxing around the firplace in the evening (with one watch aboard Hoku) discussing the wonders and mysteries of the ancient culture topped off our days.

For more information on the quest for Rapa Nui, go to the PVS Homepage.