This is already a deployment of ‘firsts’ and incredible experiences for junior and senior sailors alike.

Commander Conor O’Neill

Having enjoyed dinner with their mess mates, everyone spent the afternoon and evening opening presents – whether from home or from the numerous departmental and mess-based ‘Secret Santas’ – ringing home or relaxing in the sun of the South Pacific (the temperature is in the low 20s Celsius).

The warship arrived off Easter Island the next day, with all on board given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to go ashore and see first the ancient statues, known as Moai, at Ahu Tongariki, then the quarry from which the stone came at Rano Raraki.

They ended the brief visit with a Christmas-themed barbecue on the sands of the beach at Anakena.

"This was truly an amazing unique time and one of those Christmases I will remember for the rest of my life”, said Engineering Technician (Weapons Engineering) Oli Dymott. “It was definitely a career-defining experience."

Montrose has now resumed her crossing of the Pacific, ultimately bound for Bahrain where she’ll be permanently based for three years as part of the UK’s commitment to the security of the Middle East.

"This is already a deployment of 'firsts' and incredible experiences for junior and senior sailors alike – crossing their first ocean when we traversed the Atlantic, transiting the Panama Canal, and now as part of our Pacific voyage we all got to enjoy a truly once-in-a-career opportunity to visit the ancient civilisation of Easter Island," said Commander O’Neill.

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