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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sailing to Easter Island - The BIG Heads

Back in 2007, Val and I made a conscious choice about our mode of travel as we meander around the planet. One of the drivers to the choice of using a sailboat was our desire to make our way to Easter Island. It holds a special place of enchantment for both of us.

The Polynesian name for Easter Island is Rapa Nui or Big Rapa. It rests some 2,200 miles off the coast of Chile and it will serve as our farthest reaching ocean run. We estimate that it will take us some 25 days to make the journey from Chile. Nearly a month! The Easter Island run will be a true test.

Easter Island is one of the worlds most isolated inhabited islands. It is also home to the massive stone statues called Moai. We think so much of these Big Heads that we have a nice, small, 150 pound one in our apartment to greet guests. His name is Fred ... Fred's Head. In the winter time, Fred's head serves as the place for our hats.

From what we can gather, when we visit the island, the best place to tie up is in a small harbor called Hanga Pikio, on the west coast. However, to get inside, we will need to hire a local pilot to help guide us in. In 2008, the harbor usage fee was $150.00 (US). It should also be noted that due to the conditions inside the harbor, it is truly a choreographed effort to get in and out when other boats are anchored up in the harbor. It get's worse, only monohulls less than 36 feet are allowed in, so we will have to anchor around the island! This means shifting locations as the wind shifts. Here is an excellent Easter Island anchorage guide: Easter Island Anchor Guide by Bruce Balan and Alene D. Rice of Cross 46 trimaran "Migration."

The calmest seas, and lightest winds, occur from mid-November to mid-February. That will be the window we will be aiming for.


  1. Sounds like one stop we need to add to our list of must sees. :) Coincidentally there is an article about Easter Island in this morning's "Cruising Compass" about 3/4 of the way down the page. http://www.cruisingcompass.com/index.php?issue=239#a3108 Love your posts.

  2. @Joe: Thanks for the article! Interesting information regarding fees and trash.


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