Currently, my most popular photo is one I took in October 2009, not long after I had taken early retirement from secondary school teaching. It was snapped far from here on the island of Rapa Nui - better known as Easter Island. I had wanted to go there for many years and already knew a great deal about that tiny speck of land set in a vast blue ocean.
Even now, I can hardly believe that I spent six days there, walking amongst fallen moai, visiting the quarry where these mysterious statues were made, talking with present day Easter islanders, scanning those distant Pacific horizons. To be there was of course so different from all the books I'd read and the pictures I'd seen. In my imagination I could feel the presence of that isolated Polynesian community that blossomed and then almost died even before the arrival of Europeans like my fellow Yorkshireman and hero - Captain Cook.
To the east of the island there is a revered stone that legend says belonged to the old ones - the makers of the moai. Nearby, there are the neglected archaeological remains of an old village. The hard volcanic stone is called Pu O Hiro - which means The Trumpet Stone and even today it is possible to blow giant raspberries through the blow holes at the top. They say it was used to call islanders to meetings or ceremonies and I can well believe it.
This photo has on its own received 14,118 hits:-
Anyway, I guess that the only "hits" the original Easter islanders were concerned about were the hits they might receive from their chiefs or those who dwelt on the other side of the island. They lived there for perhaps a thousand years in perfect isolation. They had no contact whatsoever with anybody else on the planet save for occasional driftwood. As far as they were concerned, Rapa Nui was the world and there was nothing beyond those distant horizons. When in situ, none of the famous moai statues looked out to sea. They all looked inland, back towards parochial matters, to daily living and society - not outwards to the rest of the world and the possibility of other ways of living.