In the '50s and somewhat later a supply ship came to Easter Island once a year and that was the only regularly scheduled method for transport of people and goods. Now it comes once a month. This ship, Samson, was there being unloaded the whole time we were there. There is no good dock or harbor so the unloading was done onto small craft. The ship used to take away lots of wool since there were large herds of sheep on the island.
When Thor Heyerdahl went in 1955 he had to hire his own ship since he didn't to have to stay a whole year in case there wasn't much to do (that wasn't a problem of course).
Now there are 1-3 flights a day, mostly from Santiago but some from Tahiti. At the airport there was a model of an expanded facility and I suppose there will be more flights when it is built.
In addition to the large statues there is a lot of craftswork both ancient and new. Wood carvings, carvings on stone, and many artifacts found in caves - some secretly controlled by families. In Heyerdahl's book, Aku-Aku, he describes receiving lots of these artifacts and how he got to explore some caves.
Click here for some pictures of
carvings, caves, and sculptures ->