Chile, Argentina & Uruguay: Day 5 (Part 1)

January 19, 2011

Forward: As I began writing this, I was notified by a follower on Twitter that after reading my Easter Island posts they were inspired enough to book a flight there in one weeks time.  I cannot begin to express how deeply touched I was upon hearing this news, as I truly believe this is the highest compliment I could receive in regards to my writing and photography.

This day was dedicated to all things water.  I swear I was a mermaid in a past life, since I have always felt more comfortable in the water than on land.  I began my day at Hotel Altiplanico with yet another delicious breakfast and then I caught up on emails over coffee with a glorious view of the Pacific Ocean.  I could have easily gotten used to that life!

I chose to dive with Orca, which is located in the center of town on the water’s edge.  Everyone seemed friendly there, though they were a bit disorganized.  Thankfully, my knowledge of Spanish helped matters somewhat.  I was paired with a Japanese girl who spoke neither English nor Spanish.  I was a bit nervous with the language barrier, however I recalled my diving experience in Brasil where my dive master and I could not communicate whatsoever, but once under water our communication was perfect and with that my nerves disappeared.

The water was quite cold and the visibility was limited due to a storm out at sea, though having said that I was still in a state of bliss!  It was my first time diving in Chile and my third time diving in the South Pacific.  As soon as we descended into the deep blue abyss I felt like I was “home” and I never wanted to resurface.

Just as I thought the dive was coming to an end, he emerged — the famed sunken Moai!  No one knows if he was placed there on purpose by the Rapa Nui centuries ago or by someone recently to get more people to dive.  Regardless, it was definitely one of the most amazing things I have seen diving and yet another mystery the island holds.

After the dive, I walked across the street to the beach where I met Alicia.  While we were on our tour the previous day I casually mentioned that I enjoyed surfing and she began to beam with excitement.  Surfing is her greatest passion in life and she had won various competitions all over the world.  She said that there was no way I was leaving the island without surfing with her, thus our surf date was formed.

Because of the storm, the waves were huge; much larger than the ones I had ever surfed before.  I am always up for a new challenge though, so I did not let them stop me from getting out there on my board.  Over the next two hours I probably got one of the best workouts of my life, along with some great coaching from Alicia.

Once we were done, we parted ways, temporarily that is, because we decided to spend my last night in Easter Island together. . .

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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60 thoughts on “Chile, Argentina & Uruguay: Day 5 (Part 1)

  1. Camels & Chocolate

    This is the post I’ve been waiting for: the diving! What else did you see there by way of marine life? The sunken moai is super cool.

    I will never tire of eels. The very first dive I did in the Maldives four years ago, I saw a moray, and not knowing how docile they are, nearly flipped my lid!

  2. Jenni Bennett

    I’m BEYOND jealous! Looks like an amazing trip! I just booked my first scuba lesson, so hopefully I’ll have some underwater adventures of my own soon! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. Audrey

    I haven’t been diving in over a year and this post makes me want to get back in the water! Like you, when I’m in the water I never want to get out.

  4. Ruth

    Wow, I was scrolling down the post thinking that your underwater photos are really great but then I saw the underwater Moai and almost scream. I didn’t know there was one underwater. it looks so smoothe, totally different from the ones overwater. Very Cool!!

  5. jade

    Great shots- we are just learning how to dive (always snorkeled before) and I, too, always felt more comfortable in water than out. Definitely a mermaid in past life… and one like Ariel, because she was a mermaid and could sing better than any of her sisters! 🙂

  6. Anthony

    I concur with the Tweet; you do a great job of selling Easter Island Andi. Chile is already high on the list of a possible starting point, it might be getting higher now.

  7. Connie

    I’m absolutely breathless! I love diving and I can’t wait to do some diving myself in the Easter Islands! Thanks for re-sparking my love of diving! It’s been awhile since I’ve been underwater!

  8. Akila

    Wow! Awesome diving – I can’t believe there is a sunken Moai. You absolutely sell Easter Island –I don’t think any of your other posts have been so passionate about one place — and I can totally understand why that person booked a trip out there.

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  10. Ken Kaminesky

    Diving AND surfing… OK now I’m officially jealous! I need some nice warm temperatures like this and I’ve always wanted to learn to surf… One day! Nice pics Andi, they make me want to be… under the sea,
    In an octopus’ garden in the shade
    He’d let us in, knows where we’ve been
    in his octupus’ garden, in the shade.

  11. Andrea

    Geez, Andi…is there anything you can’t do? 😉 I was hopeless surfing my first time and haven’t tried again since.

  12. Alex @ Traveling Turtle

    Yay! The post that I was waiting for. I never heard the theory before that someone might have placed the moai there to increase diving tourism… makes sense but I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear it to make it more exciting when I get there 😉

  13. Sarah Wu

    Wow girl, it such a beautiful view to wake up to with nice breakfast. See you inspired people to travel, that’s why they book the trip in a week heheh

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  15. LeslieTravel

    Che! These are awesome diving photos… I also am a bit suspicious about the underwater sculpture (could it be a plant?!) but it looks like an amazing place to dive. Next time I’d love to see a photo of you surfing! I had a lesson once and it’s so difficult. You must be very brave…

  16. Angela

    Aww gorgeous photos! I too am so attracted by the sea, probably because I was born in an island, but I always feel very comfortable floating on deep crystal clear waters 😉

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  18. Mark Glover Masterson

    Inspiring, Andi. Discovered you a few hrs ago…you seem like such a firecracker and original soul. I am planning a five continents in five months voyage. Cheers, doll.
    – Mark in Alberta, Canada

  19. Mimi Lenox

    Beautiful shots and lovely presentation. I felt as though I was on vacation with you. Diving? Ummm…no. A friend of mine is a diver and loves it but I don’t think I could do it.
    But gentle body surfing is very cool. Thanks for the reminder of how much I am missing the beach right now.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today.

  20. Annie

    Wow, wow, wow. I feel like that’s my response to every one of your posts!

    First, very cool you had a chance to see the underwater Moai and second, look at that cool surfer chick! I’m glad you to surf on Easter Island. I love surfing!

  21. Theresa

    The diving looks amazing. I need to add Easter Island to my must-dive list. I love the picture of the light streaming down through the water. Gorgeous.

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