25 September 2012


Everyone who accesses the worldwide web finds his or her own pathways through it. We all have our regular sites in addition to the blogs we visit or maintain. I contribute regularly to the photo-hosting site "Panoramio" which is the basis of all the thousands of photographs in Google Maps and Google Earth. "Panoramio" is very good at providing statistics and I can quickly see how many visitors individual pictures have received. In total, my pictures have attracted over 438,000 "hits" or "views".

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:-
Pu o Hiro - The Trumpet Stone
Why that should be I have no idea, especially as I took many more eye-catching pictures during my visit such as this one:-
Two visitors before the ahu at Tongariki with Poike beyond
It's the "ahu" or platform at Tongariki with the Poike peninsula beyond. This picture has only attracted 226 hits and the spectacular one below of a moai at Hanga Roa with a golden sunset beyond has only attracted 144 hits:-
Moai at sunset - in Hanga Roa
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.


  1. You've been about a bit, Sir Pud. I was going to add, 'For a Yorkshireman' but having reminded me of Captain Cook, I thought better of it.

  2. I so want to see them.....I feel drawn to them....how amazing for you to have had that trip.

  3. HIPPO I am glad you restrained yourself...or you'd have been on jankers peeling spuds behind the NAAFI!
    LIBBY By "them" I guess you mean the moai. There are about 900 of them on the island but many are broken or were pushed over in pre-European times. Each one seems to have its own character and we can only guess why they were carved so painstakingly with obsidian tools and then dragged around the island to their designated sites. Like the island itself they are so enigmatic. You and The Mister could go there...if you want it desperately enough. You could go.

  4. A fascinating place to visit - you're very lucky to have been - but you wonder if it might be better for the islanders if it had remained undiscovered.

  5. SHOOTING PARROTS When Captain Cook arrived nearly all the trees had gone, the population had declined and there were internecine wars between clans. The dream was already over.

  6. Then it might have been better if the islanders hadn't discovered the place either!

  7. SHOOTING PARROTS They probably drifted there on canoes from faraway Tahiti and couldn't get back. If they hadn't "discovered" it, the world would not have been left with their amazing story and their enigmatic moai figures. Perhaps theirs is the story of humanity in microcosm - a lesson for us all.

  8. Interesting YP. Wished I could have gone there too. An interesting place - Dave

  9. I joined Panoramio just over a month ago. In small batches I've uploaded 155 photos: I'm really impressed the number of views they're getting. My most popular short is of a lightning tree on Barnburgh Cliff, near Doncaster.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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