Voyages: Easter Island

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Ault's voyages:
Easter Island
Last cruise
Shipboard Life

Cruises map

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Ocean Magnetic
Survey Expeditions

Situated midway between the Chilean mainland and Tahiti, Easter Island was well outside commercial shipping lanes. When the Carnegie visited in 1916 no vessel had been there in a year and a half; Capt. Ault reported that the general store was down to "one tin of kerosene and six tins of sardines." Not surprisingly, a brisk trade with the residents ensued. Trips on horseback to see the huge statues at the eastern end of the island left crew members spellbound. Ault returned on the Carnegie in 1928 and was warmly received, but plans for a "grand village-dance and feast" in the crew's honor fell through when the ship lost its anchor and nearly drifted onto the rocks. (Its hemp anchor cable - one of many special features of Carnegie 's non-magnetic construction - was no match for the sharp coral heads in the bay.)  When a second anchor failed to hold, putting out to sea at once was the only option.
Easter Island moai
Easter Island landscape
Easter Island small moai
Carnegie party inspecting one of the moai (giant statues), 1916.
"View of hill from which most of the statues were taken." (Caption is from Captain Ault.) Small moai on Easter Island.  

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Copyright (C) 2004 by the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington
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Exhibit was mounted on 07/19/2004.