Mt Yasur, Tanna - The Volcano
Tue 25 Jun 2013 09:29
Mt. Yasur, Tanna - the volcano
The story goes that Mt Yasur was a man with bad spots who was looking for somewhere to live. He tried the sea shore, but didnt like that, so went to a village further inland. He stopped to eat in a house with two ladies who fed him. He rewarded them by saying that he liked it there, so, turned back into a volcano and a hole opened up in the ground and swallowed them up.
We left from Port Resolution. Our car finally arrived, expectations where not high so any vehicle was a bonus. The ride, oh my goodness, never has a 6km ride been so uncomfortable or so long. With half the road caved in, washed away, cracked it made for a “hold on very tight “ journey. For the first time I opted for the soft seat in the cab whilst the children administered by Colin had an exhilarating ride holding on to the back roll bars. Each time I looked back to check everyone, Cosmo had his thumb up and a grin that was stretched hard between each ear, he was in his element. Bumping along with the wind in his hair through the lush jungle.
‘Volcano school’ before we left
Sign showing the different levels of activity from 1 to 4. We were told Mt Yasur was currently at level 2 with a bit of level 3. Level 3 is dangerous and level 4 is a full scale eruption.
Having spent an hour riding through dense jungle light, it's rather surreal to venture out into the open sky again. Especially if your met with barren land covered in black lava sand and the sky looking like a very angry dragon had just shown his displeasure.
From your four wheeled truck you walk for about 10mins up to the rim of the crater, not really knowing what to expect. It's not until you hear the roar that you realise what your actually experiencing. A live, spitting perhaps unpredictable fire that comes from the earths core.
At five pm, when we arrived, we found the sound effects most extra-ordinary, not what we had expected. The swooshing was terribly reminiscent of a crashing reef,along with great big cracking/popping noises. But best of all was when there was an explosion and then you saw and heard the huge lumps of lava rock shooting up and then crashing back down on to the plug.
The plumbs of Smoke where eerily like that of a nuclear mushroom cloud. The white ones where fascinating rather beautiful, the black where so very sinister. Both hugely mesmerizing. For the first hour that along with the sound effect really captured our attention.
We couldn't really comprehend that we were really standing on the rim of an all seeing all hearing all sulfur smelling live volcano and despite this being the tropics and despite there's a flipping great big fire meters from your feet it's cold up on the top. The children had no independence once nearing the top of the caldera. Underfoot we had black soft slippy sand and with no health and safety measures other than a perhaps redundant sign lying twisted rusted and embedded half into the ground warning not to go any further around the rim. We decided that perhaps this was a time to keep a firm hold of the children, regardless of any complaints, which even they seemed to realise was a good measure on this particular occasion.
As darkness crept up on us, given the amount of looming black smoke it's a wee bit difficult to distinguish between the two. Then the colors of the seething caldron started to come alive. Molten and lava moving is great swaths a couple of hundred meters below our toes, there is no disputing this thing is alive. Next came the fire works, having been there two hours the kids where tiring, but the best was left till last. The spitting lava showers increase and height. Colin was enraptured even willing to remove his jacket for Z benefit in order to bye himself a little more time. Colin was at logger heads with himself whilst enjoying the huge adrenaline rush he was experience, the safety aspect was becoming a little more of a concern. Just before we managed to drag him away one particular shooting red rocks managed to reach the top of the caldera only 80 yards behind us and the now defunct sign. But the children won out, and having realised this is a never ending live performance one has to make the decision to leave as the show continues to roll, swoosh, thunder and spitting on. What a show definitely worth the V3,500 entry fee.
Days later a we've learnt that the activity level is now considered to be too dangerous for a visit. We're feeling exceptionally chuffed we experience enjoyed and lived to tell the Mt Yasur tale. Pictures dont do it justice and we are rubbish with the camera.