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More boats are visiting Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

By Roberto Cavallo — last modified Mar 23, 2016 04:59 PM
I spent almost 2 weeks on Easter Island after a crossing from Panama and I spoke on the radio with a few boats heading there while on my way to Pitcairn and the Gambier. I wrote a few notes for noonsite sailors thinking about going there.

Published: 2016-03-21 00:00:00
Countries: Easter Island

In February 2016, I spent 11 days in Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

The Island is getting more and more touristy. Two planes a day fly to/from Santiago during the summer months and cars are everywhere. But I still found it an incredible place to visit!!

While it has been reported differently, I found Rapa Nui people very nice. As usual a big smile and the effort to learn just couple of Polynesian words opened all the doors.

I found the “Rapa Nui Anchoring Guide” written by Bruce and Alene of SV Migration - really useful.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me at Cavallo.Roberto@hotmail.com

ANCHORAGES:

Wind blew steadily from E-SE during my stay so I sailed around the island but I spent the entire time anchored in front of HANGA ROA, near the main settlement.

Arrival is possible even at night but some caution is needed:

  • C map charts are not accurate (all the island slightly GPS off set).

  • On the South side of the anchorage several coral formations can be found.

    Some of them are marked by white or red buoys used by the diving companies to moor their boat while diving. It has been reported that a transit sail boat damaged it with their anchor (while diving tours are organized, it is not a problem to go alone snorkeling/diving on the coral - depths are 14/23 meters).

  • Even with ESE wind a big swell can form in the anchorage. The excitement is assured when going/coming to shore in this condition. The Armada will issue an “Aviso de Marejada”.

  • It is necessary to anchor well ashore to avoid being in the surf area.

There is good holding in compact sand with some flat coral rock West of 27 08.5700S -109 26.0200W and 27 08.6300S - 109 26.1500W. Depth is 20/25 meter but the water is normally really clear and the bottom can be seen from the surface.

In this area there is also white mooring buoy used by a local charter sail boat.

There are several other anchorages around the island depending on the weather condition/wind direction:

  • Anakena: good in SE - W winds has a beautiful white beach. Anchor in 10m sand.

  • La Perouse: good in W wind.

  • Hotuiti: good in NNE – WSW winds. Reported good holding in 15/25 meter sand.

    Ashore the 15 mohai of the Tongariki Ahi and walking distance to Rano a Raku .

  • Vinapu: good in NNE – WSW.

  • Hanga Piko (27° 08.7'S 109° 26.3'W). A little harbor open just to SW swell where are moored the Armada boat and a few fishing boats. It is possible for visiting yachts (monohull -15m length and -2m draft) to moor inside on a spider web of lines with the anchor under a big chain on the bottom. A “pilot” is needed to enter, try contacting the well known Andy McDonald. If there are not the right conditions for going in or out (!!!!) it will not be possible for days or at least dangerous (check for La Rose-Hanga Piko on youtube).

WEATHER

I found grib forecast and Wind Guru very reliable.

The Armada can be contacted on channel 16 (Pascua Radio) to make sure no swell advisories are present.

ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE

The Armada need to be informed upon arrival calling Pascua Radio on channel 16.

Armada, Immigration, Health and Agriculture Officers came on board not long after my arrival for the entry practices.

When leaving I visited the Armada building (and they organized the Immigration officers to come there for my passport to be stamped).

FEES

You will have to pay a "Lights & Buoys" Fee. Fees did seem to vary boat to boat.

The Foreign entrance fee to the Rapa Nui National Park is around 45 US$ (if you pay in Chilean Pesos). Otherwise it's 60 US$ if you pay in US$. Tickets can be purchased at the Airport or at the Conaf “office” at the bottom of the Rano Kau volcano.

VISITING THE ISLAND

Going ashore in Hanga Roa with the tender can be tricky, especially when swells are present. Pass between the two Motu before turning left entering the little harbor.

Watch the local boats and wait for the right set of waves.

Pesos can be withdrawn at the two ATM (Santander and Banco Nacional) in Hanga Roa.

Dollars can be changed in a few shops.

Maps are available for free at the airport, Conaf offices and some car rental shops.

A ticket is necessary to visit the archaeological sites of Orongo (Bird men ceremonial houses) and Rano a Raku (where the mohai has been built). It cost 30.000 pesos (45$) for foreigners. Sometimes the same ticket needs to be shown also to visit other archaeological sites.

The are different interpretations, but the ticket is valid for the entire stay and to visit once the two paid sites.

There are very nice long walks (Hanga Roa – Anakena being my favorite - but it lasted 6 hrs!).

Renting a scooter or car may be be necessary to visit the sites further away. Hitch hiking around is possible and effective!!

Cultural festivals are regularly organized, the biggest one being the “A tapa ti” lasting 2 weeks in February every year.

INTERNET

Internet is free at the Library (near the Museum).

There is internet at the internet cafe' in town near the church.

Roberto Cavallo
SV Hildegard Hansen
ITALIA

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