23 October 2016

While we were waiting for fishing permits to be approved, we took advantage of the downtime to explore the beautiful island.

Easter Island is most well known for the giant stone moai that were created by some of the first Rapa Nui inhabitants. As story has it, there are seven moai that face towards the ocean that serve as a symbol of the first Polynesian missionaries that were sent to colonize the island. The remaining hundreds of moai that dot the island face inland symbolizing protection, much as a parent would shield his or her child from oncoming danger.

I couldn't tell you which site is most impressive, though Rano Raraku (photos shown here) is spectacular. Rano Raraku is the ancient quarry where the moai were carved from volcanic rock. Here moai are scattered across the landscape, some even half buried in the hillside. I am hard pressed to think of a more monumental representation of human imagination and fortitude.

22 October 2016

So why were we on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific for the past two weeks?

Erwan needed some fish... and not the delicious fresh tuna that we made into ceviche, tartar, and curry... no, the tiny little colorful endemics that can only be found in Rapa Nui. His current research project is devoted to understanding how these fish have ended up in Easter Island. So, we grit our teeth and signed up for two weeks in paradise. 

After some snafus with paperwork, permits, and the Chilean Navy, we finally sorted out the tramites so that the divers could get in the water and start hunting. Meanwhile, I (not diving due to the growing babe inside of me) made friends with fishermen and snorkeled in Hanga Roa's protected coastal pools. 

All in all, the trip was a success! Last weekend we returned to Valdivia with nice sun tans and a cooler full of frozen fish!

planning the first dive
processing the samples

11 October 2016

We have been in Rapa Nui for the past ten days and still have another half a week to go before we return home! Life is rough, let me tell you. While we are here for work, we have had ample time to explore this beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific. More to come on all of that in a bit... in the meantime enjoy a piña colada for me!

24 September 2016

Here are some final photos from the weekend in Rupanco. 

After constant rain all day on Saturday, we woke up Sunday morning to clear blue skies. Southern Chile is so strange in that way, one moment its bleak and gray as Medieval England, the next moment its a sparkling emerald. The sun seemed to motivate everyone out of their slumber, and soon the kitchen was full of bodies bustling about to prepare all sorts of goodies for breakfast. Following the southern tradition, we had a full spread complete with farm-fresh eggs, bread, cheese, toppings of all sorts, and even a tropical-inspired smoothie. With bellies full, we embarked upon the day like one big family, ready to take a peak into the lake and awe at the surrounding volcanoes. 

Thanks everyone for such a great time!

Christian, ever with a net!
Maryse finding treasures...
Happy Lobo!
baby nalca sprouting this Spring!
girls having fun!

Thank you Erwan for your photos (9,15,16)!!

19 September 2016

 While Pablo is in Iguazu, Argentina this week for a conference, I went on a weekend get-a-way with friends! 

On Saturday, we headed out to Lago Rupanco to celebrate Chilean Independence Day at the lake. With it being early spring, Saturday was chilly and rainy, but that didn't stop us from exploring, having a barbecue, and enjoying the time together. We made choripans and admired native trees, we heated up the wood-burning hot tub, and threw rocks into the lake for the dogs. Though I missed Pablo, I had a wonderful weekend with friends!

there's a wolf in the water!!

stir that hot tub!