Aug 30, 2003
Lonely Planet, publishers of excellent travel guides, informed me this week that I’d won a copy of the newest edition of the Vanuatu guide. This is thanks to Erin’s cousin Brigid McDermott, who let me know about LP’s drawing for the book:
Where in the World Are You?
It’s dark. You’re stumbling up the rough 150m path from the car park to the crater rim of one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes, located on an island in the South Pacific known also for its fascinating Jon Frum cult. The level of activity within fluctuates between dangerous and relatively calm, but when it’s hot…it’s hot. Your introduction to the turmoil consists of whiffs of sulphur accompanied by whooshing and roaring noises. Then you make it to the barren ash rim and look down into a central crater about 300m across and 100m deep.
Just as you’re getting used to the fireworks display of showers of fiery magma and the occasional ear-splitting explosion, you hear a great ‘gasp’ as of indrawn breath, followed by an almighty bang as if a blockbuster bomb has gone off at your feet. The ground underfoot shakes like jelly as great lumps of red-hot magma shoot high overhead and you hear rocks landing behind you. No hard hats have been supplied to visitors, nor is there a guard rail. Still, you’re finding it an exhilarating (if not terrifying) experience, and take comfort in the fact that at least you can see the molten rocks coming, lit up against the night sky as they are. You try not to think about the two guides and the tourist who were killed here in 1995 when struck by flying lava bombs.
Where are you? If you can tell us the names of the volcano, the island it’s on and the country it’s part of, we’ll put you in the random draw for one of 20 copies of Lonely Planet’s soon to be released Vanuatu (4th edition).
- Volcano – Yasur
- Island – Tanna
- Country – Vanuatu
Anton Zuiker ☄
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