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Easter Island Rapa Nui underwater Moai

When most people think of Easter Island, they think of the Moai. And that’s it. They don’t consider the intriguing past. The controversial present. Or that there may be other things to do on an island besides lock eyes awkwardly with the Moai. So that’s why I was tickled to find out that Easter Island hosts some killer diving. Specifically, killer diving amongst a “mysterious” underwater Moai statue.

Ok, not exactly. There’s mixed reports on the Interwebs but I got the real story from a local. Let’s turn back the clocks to the distant past of 1994. That would be very post-Moai construction era, you see. Back in those days, there was an actor by the name of Kevin Costner. He made that critically acclaimed film “Water World.” Teehee. Anyway, around the same time of this great success, he also co-produced a movie entitled “Rapa Nui.” Which was, if you haven’t guessed it, about Easter Island. Surprise surprise, the movie flopped. But what was left, besides another water related scar on Costner’s track record, was an underwater Moai. A 700-ton fiberglass and metal Moai that was dropped— via water-parachute— into the ocean off Easter island, used as a prop, then abandoned for obvious reason.

Rapa Nui movie poster

This “original” underwater Moai eventually broke apart. Because fiberglass. But the tourists liked it so much that one of the scuba companies decided to construct another— this one out of rock— and dumped it closer to the harbor. And there it sits, 14 meters underwater, slumped up against a pile of coral, gazing knowingly up toward the surface. I needed to see this. Nay, I needed to touch this (remember, you are not permitted to touch the actual Moai or risk execution or something).

Coming from Patagonia, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Easter Island is tropical. This shouldn’t have been a surprise but we planned jack diddly shit ahead of time. The water here is ridiculously blue. Clear. Inviting. So therefore, the diving part was a welcome distraction from normal island life (you know, eating ceviche and contemplating sunsets). We went with the Orca dive shop, who escorted us out into the big blue with as much rushed gusto as a drill sergeant on cocaine. “GO, GO, GO, THE UNDERWATER MOAI IS ON THE MOVE, YOU LAZY F*&KS!!” *Kick to the face to assist with exiting the boat*

Easter Island Orca scuba diving

There is no big marine life here. Definitely no sharks (boo). But a shit ton of twisted volcanic rock and coral. Arches to limbo. Spotted pufferfish to chase. And the underwater Moai. As with all things, we thought it would be bigger. And less hairy. The statue was covered in prepubescent patches of coral. And fair enough. It’s only a young teenager. We swam around it like judgmental bullies then left it in our dust. Or bubbles. I kind of felt guilty leaving it there. But then I ADD-ed and saw a bright blue fish and stopped caring.

Easter Island scuba diving arch

Then to replace the taste of salt water with sweet sweet alcohol, I drank yet another bottle of Pisco Sour. And ate more tuna than what was possible to see underwater (at Oheho, for the record). The end.

I may have my Advanced Open Water license but that doesn’t stop me from continuously f*&%ing up (your mask won’t clear because your nose isn’t it, you moron). Therefore, get your dive advice somewhere else: check out this blog by The Round the World Guys or this one by Miss Scuba.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • financial advisor search April 11, 2017, 6:54 am

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  • Kim April 20, 2017, 6:37 pm

    Whoa, what an adventure! It’s too bad there’s no marine life in their waters :/

    Kim | Simply Lovebirds

    • Tam April 20, 2017, 7:55 pm

      Yeah, I was told that area is really overfished and that’s part of the reason. Still, we saw a lot of little marine life like eels and pretty fish 🙂

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