Sunday, 6 December 2015

Day 36 (Dec 6) - White Island (Off TA)

We weren't sure whether the trip would be on  due to the weather, but the day seemed calm enough when we got up.  Even so, we were glad to get the confirmation call that the trip was going ahead. Hour and a half trip out to White Island - New Zealand's only currently active volcano. Boat trip was a little rough and a few people were a bit green on the way over.

I was so excited! You could see the island getting closer and the plume of steam that made this island different to most- so cool!

We all got a hard hat and a gas mask then were ferried across in an inflatable to the Island. Safety brief - if the volcano erupts seek shelter, cover your head, but don't go on the mounds because they'll collapse and you'll end up in an acid bath! When the eruption is over they will collect the survivors and give out lunch. Sounds like a plan!

Walking around the crater was so surreal - like being on another planet. They used to mine sulphur on the island but had to work hard to get it - the huge deposits we could see were on areas too dangerous to mine so they had to dig it out from a ridge away from the centre of the crater and heat the rock to extract it. We tasted the sulphur and it wasn't disgusting as you might imagine, it was actually quite salty/sweet. The sulphur smell wasn't too bad either, but the gases sometimes burnt you  in the back of the throat and quite a lot of people had to wear their gas masks the whole way through.   We got to walk in amongst the vents and along the edge of the crater for a couple of hours - totally awesome!

Pigeon xx

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