Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rana Kau Crater Lake

After sitting in a mini van for most of our first day on Easter Island we decided it would be good to have a day involving a good long walk. So we packed up a picnic lunch and plenty of water and climbed up to Rano Kau which is one of the largest volcanic cones.  On the walk through the town a large yellow dog adopted us for the day.  She followed us out town and up the hill. It was very hot and when a car driver offered us a ride to the top we gratefully accepted. The driver turned out to be Luis Jara, a famous Chilean singer and TV host. He and his wife Silvana were on their honeymoon. We left the dog sitting in the middle of the road wondering where her new friends had disappeared to. 

We stopped the car on the rim of the volcanic crater and looked down the steep inner side down to the crater lake. What an amazing sight. The dark water was covered with big spongy floating masses of reeds and moss in brilliant colours. We walked the rest of the way on foot up to the Visitors Centre.  There we were able to re-use the Park Entrance tickets for our second day. The views out over the island were stunning and we could see many of the 70 volcanic hummocks all over the island.   We could look down on the town far below and out to sea.  The colour of the ocean was a brilliant deep blue like nothing I have ever seen before.  Underfoot there were chips of obsidian, a sharp black volcanic glass and red scoria rocks.  We climbed around the rim of the volcano in both directions.  Access down to the actual crater lake is prohibited and we could see that the scree was very loose and unstable. Beyond the Visitors Centre we walked along the edge of the cliff among the stone slab houses of the Birdman culture and looked down on the tiny island of Ratanui.  The ancient petroglyphs are carved into the rocks and have a great story behind them of the annual Birdman competition.

We walked down a track from the top of the volcano and found our yellow dog was till waiting for our return. There are many dogs roaming around and they don’t seem to belong to any one. A bit of food offered and a cuddle and they would be yours for life.

By the time we had walked down the town again we were so hot and tired.  We looked into a cave called Ana Kai Tangata and viewed the ancient petroglyphs which are becoming more faint as time passes. We stopped at the lagoon sea pool and went in with all our clothes on. Others at the sea pool were climbing out because turtles were swimming in there but we didn’t care.

A delicious fish dinner on the balcony of Kuki Varua, a local restaurant that evening brought a near perfect day to an end.

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