SP-93 SOUTH PACIFIC (Florida, CHILE, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, French Polynesia)
Date of travel: Mar 17 – Apr 6, 1993
On Mar 17, 1993, early in the morning a fellow employee drives me to San Diego airport. Delta Airlines plane takes me via Dallas Ft. Worth to Jacksonville in Florida where in midafternoon. I spend the evening with the sales personal of Monitor the company we are all working for. Next day a drive with the sales person along the eastern coast of Florida with a stop at “St. Augustine Fortress.” At noon, we are in Melbourne. In the afternoon, a visit to a Monitor customer. At night, a dinner with Monitor representatives.
In the morning on Mar 19 a visit to 3 customers. That finishes my work for Monitor. At noon, I rent a car and drive to Orlando. Later in the afternoon, I visit “Epcot Center” with pavilions of various countries. Overnight in a hotel.
On Mar 20, I drive to visit “Kennedy Space Center” on Cape Canaveral. Then I continue freeway 95 south to Miami. When there I take a causeway to Miami Beach. After the sunset, I return the rented car to AVIS at the airport. Later I board a Lan Chile plane and fly via Caracas to Santiago de Chile.
The following morning the plane lands in Santiago de CHILE. With a local guide by bus to our Hyatt Regency Hotel. In the afternoon, there is a bus tour of the city. In the evening, we board a plane and after 5 hours flying we land on “Easter Island.” There are 18 tourists in our group.
In the morning on Mar 22 a trip in two minibuses. Before we see any of the real statue we notice statues built from chicken wire for Kevin Costner’s new movie. Then we pass the long runway built here by NASA in case a Space Shuttle needs landing in this part of the world. Easter Island looks like a right-angle triangle having the right angle to the north. It’s only town Hanga Roa is on the southwestern side. This morning we explore the southwestern corner of the island. After seeing a platform on the shore with all statues lying on the ground, we drive to deep Rano Kao crater and places where so called Bird Culture was celebrated. There is a movie village with the artificial moai (statues) here. After lunch, there is an individual sightseeing of Hanga Roa.
The second day we go around the island counter-clockwise visiting more platforms on the shore with the moai lying on the ground. On the beginning of 19th century no moa was standing and moai culture was dead. The island is of volcanic origin with some 70 volcanoes. The island is devoid of the original higher vegetation. At one point the movie people built a whole Polynesian village. The name of the movie will be “Rapa Nui,” which is the Polynesian name of the island. Later we climb Rano Raraku. From its basalt, the giant moai (statues) were carved. We see moai in various stages of carving. In midafternoon, we are in Anakena on the north coast. Thor Heyerdahl reconstructed the platform and the moai were erected here. Late in the afternoon, after returning to Hanga Roa we board small boats and despite large waves we climb on to the ship “Explorer.”
Next 3 days our ship sails to the west. Our time is interwoven by getting to know our ship, interesting lectures, talking to other passengers, and eating. There are 33 passengers. With our group of 18 there are 15 who boarded Explorer in Valparaiso, Chile. There is a lot of space, because our ship has space for 96 travelers. There are 64 crew members including the hotel personal. Explorer has displacement 2,500 tons. It is 72 m long and has 4.5 m draft.
On Mar 27, Explorer puts anchor at the small “Ducie Island,” part of the PITCAIRN GROUP. It is a typical atoll with a lagoon inside. Pieces of corals and bushes cover its dry land. Nobody lives here, but there are many nesting birds everywhere. After walk on the island we are snorkeling near its shore.
On Mar 28, a visit to “Henderson Island,” also part of the Pitcairn Group. This is a coral reef pushed above the waves. There is a jungle on its shore. Nobody lives here either. In the morning, a walk along the shore of the island looking for its endemic birds and snorkeling in the afternoon.
On Mar 29, Explorer drops its anchor at “Pitcairn Island.” Morning is spent on this 4.5 sq. km island where the descendants of Bounty mutineers live. We visit Adamstown with its post office, courthouse, school, church, Adams’ grave, and cemetery. I am surprised to see a computer in the school. There are 58 people living on the island this time. In the afternoon, people of the island come to have lunch on our ship, sell their souvenirs, tell us about their history and life and sing their songs.
After a sea day, our ship enters FRENCH POLYNESIA on Mar 31 and anchors at the “Mangareva Island” in the Gambier Group. On the shore, we are welcomed by local inhabitants with music and dancing. In the church, we get explanation about island history. There is snorkeling in the afternoon.
Two more days on the ocean, with more lectures. The second day PM we come to “Marotiri Islets” and do some riding on zodiacs around them. Marotiri are sheer rocks rising from the waves. On Apr 3, we reach the Austral Islands and anchor at “Rapa Island” (still in French Polynesia). There is a sightseeing walk around the village. Back on board I see a large shark near the ship. My first. At noon Explorer leaves the island.
At noon on Apr 4 we come to “Raivavae Island” (also Austral Islands). A school buses take us around the island with stops at various places. One of which is at a rock statue of a godlike figure, tiki. The local people put up a show for us. Before the sun is out we are back on our ship. The whole next day Explorer is sailing north to Society Islands.
In the morning on Apr 6, we are in TAHITI (part of the Society Islands). Soon we leave Explorer and a bus takes us to the airport. There we board an Air France plane for 7.5 hours flight to Los Angeles. In a rented car I drive home to Vista where an hour before midnight the same day.
Travel office: Abercrombie & Kent
Who took part: There were 33 passengers on the ship Explorer.