Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, , at sacred-texts.com
December 23.--A dip in the sea at daylight, and a breakfast of mutton which had been slowly roasting all night on hot stones placed in the ground and covered with earth to prevent the escape of heat, put us in prime condition for the work in hand. Our route lay along the north coast of the island and around Anakena Bay, the place where Hotu-Matua and his followers landed when they arrived from the unknown and much-disputed locality from which they migrated. On the sand beach of this bay we found the small univalve, the remains of which were noticed in all the caves and ruins on the island and which are still highly esteemed by the natives as an article of food. Jelly-fish, such as are known to the sailors as "Portuguese men-of-war," also abound, and are esteemed a delicacy by the natives. The entire plain back of Anakena (La Pérouse) Bay is covered with small platforms, cairns, tombs, and the rains of dwellings of various sorts. Houses built of loose stones, nearly circular in shape, are plentiful; but they belong to a comparatively recent date, as is indicated by the fact that the stones, of which they are constructed, have been taken from the platforms and from the foundations of the thatched tents. Any sort of material that came handy appears to have been freely used by the builders of these houses. In several we found well-cut heads that had formerly ornamented image platforms, built in the walls, some facing inside and others in the opposite direction. The ruins in the vicinity show that this had been the site, of a large settlement, and that it continued to be a place of importance through many generations; but the greatest mystery is how such a number of people obtained a sufficient supply of fresh water.
Near Anakena is a large image in the best state of preservation of any found about the platforms of the island. The traditions assert that this was intended to represent a female, and that it was the last image completed and set up in place. Our guides informed us that it was only thrown down about twenty-four years ago, and previous to that time it had remained for many years the only statue standing upon a platform on the island. Camp Whitney was located at Hangaone Bay, where we found shelter in a bug-infested cave. The water supply was obtained from an ancient tomb near by, and was both scant in quantity and nasty in quality. We were, however, in such an indifferent state of mind that anything wet was acceptable.
December 24.--With the knowledge that we had a particularly hard march before us, we struck camp early and got under way before it was fairly in the morning. Around Cape Pokokoria the rugged nature of the ground passed over was extremely exhausting. The slopes of Mount Puakalika are in places covered with coarse hummock-grass and flowering vines, which look green and attractive during the rainy season of the year, but which were at this time almost as dry and parched as though scorched by fire. The toilsome march of this day was heightened by the absence of water, and all suffered severely from thirst.
[paragraph continues] Starting out in the morning with empty canteens, our throats soon became dry and painful. A small quantity of water was found in the afternoon in Mount Puakalika crater, thick and unpleasant to look upon, but affording valuable relief to our sufferings.