14 October 2016 | 19 31.90'S:169 26.98'E, Mt. Yasur, Tanna I, Vanuatu
We had a great visit to Mt Yasur, Tanna's active volcano. It was so good, in fact, that it looked like the authorities were going to cancel the visit.
Even this morning, from our anchorage, the rumbling over the hillside was warning us that Mt. Yasur was far more active today than she had been on previous days. When we arrived at the park, we were told that the visit may be cancelled because lava explosions were coming up and over the rim of the volcano.
In the end, they did take us to the top and then had us wait while they sent a guide ahead to see if things were safe. He didn't get fried, so eventually we were allowed to go up to the rim but were warned that it would probably be an abbreviated visit. A couple of viewing spots were closed due the danger of flying lava.
To put a fine point on things, just as we were approaching the rim there was a huge explosion throwing lava hundreds of feet in the air. We watched one particular chunk fly out of the dust cloud far overhead and then land not more than a hundred feet away! Wow, that was an exciting first few seconds on the volcano.
These explosions continued all evening. Every few minutes the ground would shake first. Then we would see and hear the explosion as massive, thick clouds of dust and flying chunks of lava flew skyward before falling back into the crater, and sometimes on the rim closer to us. This was mother nature showing off a tiny bit of her awesome power.
As it got dark, the show just got better as the ever present glow from the crater lit the sky between the brilliant explosions.
I should also add that the entire time we were being heavily rained on by volcanic ash. Our eyes stung, our hair was thick with sticky dust, and every piece of clothing was getting grayer by the minute. Talk about a total body mud pack!
As we rode in the back of a pickup returning to Speakeasy, we reflected that this was definitely another one of those experiences that we could never get back home. Real excitement, real danger, and a reward of fantastic memories.