When I got to Easter Island, I rented a horse. There
are more horses than people on Easter Island.
that’s what I was told. But you can’t always
believe what people are telling you. Sometimes they’re
just feeding you a line to keep themselves safe, or
they’re just fucking with you – maybe their T.V. is broken
that day and they’ve got to fill their quota of sadism
for the day by giving you a hard time.
We’re talking about the fact that I rented a horse on Easter Island
and I spent a long day, at first riding uphill through a small
forest. That was the beginning of the day, so I was still interested
and I caught a glimpse of something through the trees.
It was a long flat, slightly tilted structure – flat stone about
four feet wide, with gutters at either side of the stone. There
was the normal Easter Island statue at the head of this long
flat stone… Except there is nothing “normal” about Easter
I tied my horse to a tree. I looked back to see he
was happily eating tree leaves. He was not what you’d
call an over-fed horse. I could see his ribs. And he
wasn’t calm either, but for now he was O.K.
The flat stone was about thirty feet long. The
gutters carved in the stone on either side were about
five inches deep. The blood could flow nicely
into a catchment at one end. My thought was, “You
could sacrifice at least six people at the same time
in this place… tear our their hearts and raise them
aloft, so you could see them steaming in the sun.
Maybe they caught the blood in a large polished
stone bowl. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe they
let the blood flow into the soil of the Great Giver,
Maybe it was all quite innocent. Ho! Ho!
Maybe it was a place of secret bloody rituals,
or maybe they let the crowd in to watch. But the
point is – they don’t talk about this aspect of
Easter Island in the guide books, or the history books
The place was hidden by the forest and they
sure weren’t talking about it. Maybe those in
charge figured that such a barbaric little
corner of the world would scare away the straights,
frighten off the tourists – what few tourists
there are in that place. Not many ships go there
each year. I think maybe we were the only one.
The day was hot so I rode up over the hill.
The middle of the island is mostly flat and semi-desert.
Some prickly plants and some tufts of grasses and
rocky sand. When the wind came up it blew dust
and pebbles into my face.
It was real hot. I took my shirt off. But there
were nasty biting insects… and every 60 seconds
of so the wind blew sand and pebbles into my
face. I wasn’t happy. The horse wasn’t happy.
He took to looking back over his shouder
and glaring at me – like I was the devil incarnate.
Finally we reached the ocean on the other side of the island.
Far as I could see there was no fresh water
I could see more of those statues along
the coast facing out to sea. A beautiful,
wonderfully disturbing scene.
I would have gone along and visited
fifty or so more statues and checked out the
quarry where the statues came from,
but circumstances were not favourable.
There was a slight road along the coast.
A volkwagen bus passed me. Other people
from the ship waved their arms out the
windows of the bus. But the bus
Instead it blew more sand, pebbles
and dust in our faces.
the horse looked back at me. I decided
to turn back. We went a few hundred more yards
into this hot dusty semi-desert. That’s when
I discovered the birds.
There is a smallish
nasty hawk that lives in the interior of
the island. Not just one hawk, either.
There were many of them. They started
diving at us – me and the horse. From about
80 feet up in the air. They dove. They
were trying to eat my horse’s ears as they
flew past, they ducked their heads and tried
to bite. And they were zipping right
past my nose.
This just about finished things
for my horse. He was not just glaring
back at me, he was trying to bite my
legs. He was pretty serious about it.
We had less than two miles to go,
so I took out my camel crop and whacked
his ass a few times. He bounded forward
about a hundred yards. Neither of us had
had any water to drink for some time.
I was starting to dream about the bar on the
ship and about 3 tall glasses of iced water –
then six tall iced glasses of vodka and tonic.
The dream faded fast – I was confronted
once more by this hot, dry and ugly situation.
A hawk swooshed by the horse’s nose and I
he managed to claw it a bit. It started to bleed
a little. Another blast
of wind and small rocks hit us in the face.
That was when the horse stopped.
He hadn’t quite been able to bite my
legs, but he kept trying. Now he refused
to take a step farther. I got off the horse
and gave him a whack or two with the
camel crop – but it was game over
for the horse.
I pulled the reins forward over his
head and walked in front of him. I had
to drag him forward by the reins. I’d drag
him for twenty feet, then had to stop.
I had to fend off the hawks with my other
It was a very long day – very dry
and unpleasant. With sharp spiked little
plants scratching my ankles and bare legs.
Ugly biting and stinging insects were getting
to drag the horse forward with one hand and
slap at the hawks with the other, windmilling
my arm. I put my tea-shirt on my head. And
I dragged my asshole horse all the way back to
A lot of people would have just left him
there in the desert. And I considered doing
that many times. But I manage to get that
fucker to water.
I walked up the gangplank. People
were slapping my back and laughing and
wanted to shake hands: “WE SAW YOU OUT
THERE!” These were the people from the
“Yeah, I saw you, too!” That was
all I said until I made it to the bar. I stayed
in the bar a long time. I washed my face
and chest in the sink. And I soaked my
tea-shirt in water and put it on my head.
I drank water like a crazed man. Then I
started in on the vodka tonics. I had
at least six of them before I said a
word to anyone.
I took a picture of the
statues and I’ll try and post it. But
I recently found something else
about the island that you might
(more to come…next article -)
pictures – video
(C)2016 by W.G. Milne