The true story of the palms of Anakena
Captain, Chilean Navy, IM Arnt Ernesto Arentsen Pettersen
Governor of Easter Island on three different occasions
(1960-1961, 1965-1966 y 1975-1978)
“On the northern side there was the Ahu Ature Huke, restored in 1955 by Thor Heyerdahl and his team of archaeologists, a using a technique of the ancestral islanders under the direction of the mayor, Petero Atán, a true patriarch, who with Lázaro Hotus and other islanders dragged the sole Moai (statue) to the Ahu (platform) and raised it by a system of levers made of eucalyptus trunks and a pile of stones until it stood erect and with a bronze plaque. I stayed for a while, admiring the restored Ahu and thinking on a future of tourism for the Island. I imagined a tropical-style beach surrounded by a lovely park of palm trees.
“At the end of June, the “Esmeralda” returned to Easter Island, where it had to anchor at Hanga Vinapu on the southeastern shore due to the very high seas from the northwest which made it impossible to use the anchorage at Hanga Roa or Hanga Piko. Commander Carvajal sent a boat for me to Vinapu where there was a very good landing for small craft and I embarked with Doctor Carlos Rojas, Commander Ernesto Galaz, Father Luna, Mayor Jorge Tepano-Ika and the veterinarian Luis Perez, a true representation of the Island.
“Commander Carvajal received us warmly and declared that he had come through for the Island. In Tahiti, they had embarked 2,000 coconut seeds, all with their respective certificates of health, to be planted on the Island. In addition, in the stern of the ship were more than forty trees of coffee, breadfruit, grapefruit and other species to enrich the variety of vegetation on our legendary Rapa Nui.
“The family of Macario Teao-Ika, with his wife María Auxiliadora Hereveri-Pakomio and their younger children Macario Segundo Tadeo, María Goretti, Jorge Simón, Germán, Claudio and Loren Pilar, were given the job of following the full procedure for planting the 650 coconut seeds.
“We decided to fence the area with stakes of cypress wood and barbed wire to keep the sheep from eating the young shoots and so that the new plants wouldn’t get trampled by the horses and cattle which were numerous on Easter Island. Once the area was ready, the coconuts were planted with great enthusiasm by the workers of the governmental Vaitea ranch and by the local population, all of whom swore to care for this little forest and assured us that under no condition would they accept that there be toke toke (robbery). Anakena would be a beach as lovely as any in Polynesia.
“At that time, who could have imagined that within eight years Mataveri would become an airport with a paved strip two kilometers (6,500 feet) long by 30 meters (100 feet) wide to receive modern airplanes? God was so great to have inspired me with this wonderful initiative that is today enjoyed by the residents of Rapa Nui and all the tourists who visit it.”
In the sand of Rapa Nui there are animals so small that they can hardly be seen with the bare eye. You need a microscope to see them. These animals live in the small spaces between sand grains.
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