This week we return to Easter Island, which we have shown a few times in recent months. There are hundreds of Moai statues at various places on the island. Each is unique.
Easter Island has only a few beaches, and this location is the only spot where the Moai are right on a beach. Most of the shoreline is rocky, as the island is volcanic.
Easter Island got its name because the first Europeans, Dutch, to land there arrived on Easter Sunday in 1722. All of the statues were standing at that time. When James Cook arrived in 1774, many of the statues had been toppled, and by the 1830's almost all of them had been tipped over by conflict among the local people.
As this photo shows, Easter Island has been largely deforested by sheep herding by a British and Chilean enterprises. They mistreated the local population and confined them to a small town for many years in the 19th and earth 20th centuries so that the rest of the island could be used by the sheep. Easter Island is volcanic, with three large craters and about 50 smaller ones, all on an island that is only 12 miles (18 km) and between 1 and 8 miles (1.5 to 12 km) wide.
The indigenous population of Easter Island is Polynesian in origin, having travelled to one of the most isolated spots on earth about 1,500 years ago, and having no contact with the outside world for centuries. There are some plants that are native to South America, however, so there is a mystery about how those plants could have arrived.
What better way to end a day than to seen the sunset behind a row of Moai statues, with the expanse of the Pacific in the background. The Polynesians were certainly the best explorers on earth for centuries, having reached tiny spots of land amidst a vast ocean, hundreds of years before Europeans ventured far from their shores.