It's true what they say about being able to smell land before you see it. The sweet, pungent earthy smell of dirt and grass drifted out to our boat around dawn well before we made it to the back side of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island.
We were unable to anchor off of town because of a heavy swell that had already closed the harbor off for days when we arrived. I am glad that the weather pushed us around to the other side because our first taste of land was here at Anakena Beach.
Turns out that Anakena is also where a Polynesian king landed a few hundred years ago. I am also guessing that this gradual, sandy cove proved less dangerous than the pounding surf whittling away the other side of the island when he arrived as well.
An oasis comes to mind when I look back over these pictures. And aren't all islands the same?
It certainly felt like one to Garen and I as we packed only a few bags, stored the rest under our bunks, and readied ourselves for a soft bed, stable footed shower, and perhaps dinner at a table rather than on our knees. Don't get me wrong, dinner on deck gives you a hell of a view.
And how about this view? I could hardly believe it!
But what I really couldn't wait for was a chance to get into water that looked like this. I imagined sea turtles cruising through the corals, colorful reef fish darting in and out as I drifted over them, and patches of soft, pale sand dotting through it all.
One of the great benefits of taking photographs, and then being able to look back on them, is that you see aspects of the places where you traveled that you missed with your naked eye, or that you missed even when you were looking through the frame to set up your shot.
I hadn't noticed that the sky had been reflecting off of the sea water coating the sand at the water's edge with such an iridescent blue that can't keep my eyes off of now when I look at the photo.
Do you spot the lone Moai between the palms? He is facing inland, like most of the carved figures that are scattered over this island.
The belly-button in the hill.
Or so I named it.
Garen and I stood with the bags, chatting to a friend of one of our crew mates that had come to meet us at the dock.
Jeff took dingy trips back and forth between the shore and the Sea Dragon several times, ferrying off all of the luggage and passengers that were eagerly awaiting land.
Can you spot the fish in the above photograph?
Neither can I.
In fact, when we went snorkeling off of this beach a couple of days later we saw two fish.
The Sea Dragon is the ship anchored to the right.
We said goodbye to her for a few days and headed across the beach to wait for the car coming back for us that never came until.....two hours later we managed to hire a couple of taxis to drive us the 8 miles of road between us and a bed for the night. And the many adventures that awaited us on our three day stay before the crew turned over, and we climbed back on board for part two.