Orongo Half Day Tour


Our half day tour was rescheduled from our first day on the island to Saturday. This was because we were delayed when flying from Santiago. 

We managed to get on the bus with the tour guide we had from our full day tour which was good, however we soon found out it was actually half in Spanish and half in English. Our first stop on the tour was to a crater, which was once a volcano. 
The next stop was to Orongo Village, this was further up the mountain to the crater. The village was used over 100 years ago as a base for special ceremonies and events. The main use for the village was for the annual birdman challenge. This challenge involved a “sponsor” from each of the 12 clans to competing to get the first egg from a bird on the local island. The “sponsor” was elected by the clan leader. The challengers had to scale down the cliff swim 1.5 – 1.7km across the ocean to a local island then wait until the birds migrated to the island and laid an egg. Once the warriors got the egg they then had to carry the egg and swim back to the village on the mainland, again having to scale up the cliff without falling or crushing the egg. 

The winner got special status within their clan and the clan leader then became the leader for all clans for the following year.

At this site they also had houses from where the people would stay when they came for the challenge. The houses were made of stone, kept the weather out and could only be accessed by a small entrance that they had to crawl through in order to get into the house. 

After we walked around this area, we went back in the bus and headed down the road to another moai site. This site was very different to the rest as the platform had more of an Inca influence. This site was destroyed during one of the many unsettlements that occurred on the island many years ago. 

After we returned to the hotel we went out to town for lunch. We went to the restaurant we went on one of our first days. Kath and I both got fish and chips. The fish was battered and overcooked, so we both scraped the battery off and just ate the fish.
That evening we went to the “pasta party”. It was all a shamble really. We arrived and found that we didn’t have reserved tables for our tour group, so we were scattered all over the restaurant, with the 150 odd other race participants. The race organiser then commenced giving us some information about the race, however this was primarily in Spanish so a lot of us really had no idea what was going on. He would do 5 mins of talking in Spanish, then a 30 second summary in English. After he showed us some pictures he then handed over to a man, who we later found out climbed Mount Everest. He seemed like a great speaker, however after 40mins of speaking in Spanish and it seemed like there was no hope he was letting up, we saw most of our group had left by this stage, so we went out to see what was going on. After we left the room we really didn’t want to go back in, so we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner instead. At the restaurant we found the rest of our group already there. Unfortunately there were no pasta dishes on the menu, so Kath and I both got Pollo Capresse (stuffed chicken breast). Well it turned out that out chicken was not cooked through. So we complained and they tried to offer to remake for us or give us something else. It was nearly 10pm by this stage, so we​ told them no, we didn’t want to be charged for our meals and left. Needless to say we were both very nervous about what would happen in the following hours…

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