One of the Vanuatu locals that Inspector Climate had met on a different work trip and told him that we HAD to fly over to Tanna, one of Vanuatu's southern islands, and go to the top of Mt Yasur, an active volcano. I've always had a love of all things geological and so I knew it was something we must do. We did a bit of research and decided to go with Unity Airlines who offer overnight tours of the volcano.
To get to the Tanna, we had to fly in a ten seater plane. Which was obviously a good opportunity to be a bit silly. And we never miss a opportunity for silliness (It's in our vows).
Once we landed, we had a brief minute to put on some bug spray (Tanna has had cases of Malaria) and some long sleeves and jump into a truck to take us up the volcano. It was a long drive and outrageously bumpy, but incredibly beautiful. We drove through little villages of thatched roofed (roofed? Really? Rooved?) houses. They all had little gardens with fruit trees (bananas? Mangoes? Anyone?) and small fields with corn and other things growing everywhere. Not to mention free range chickens, pigs and cows wandering about along the road.
After about an hour we arrived at what Inspector Climate and I took to calling "the moon." It was an ash field that lay at the foot of the volcano (pictured behind us). I expected the ash to be really fine between my fingers, but it was actually quite coarse like sand. (I may look like I'm in pajamas...but I swear those are linen
The volcano was shrouded in clouds and steam. We were sitting in back of the pick up truck on some "cushioned" bench seats (bumpy!), but it was so cool to watch steam coming out of the road as we drove up and up and up!
I wish I could have taken a photograph that actually encapsulated what it felt like to standing on the rim of a volcano. However, none of them came out very well. The weather left this giant cloud of steam and occasionally sulphur just hovering over the volcano which made it impossible to capture the size of the volcano. While we were up there, for nearly an hour or more (my watch broke prior to this trip), we could hear the bubbling and gurgling of the volcano and occasionally there would be a big eruption and we could see red sparks flying up from the depths of the cloud.
It was a completely indescribable experience. It was magical to feel the wind whipping around the volcano, the only downside was the incredibly pungent, sulphur smells like rotten eggs and while the scenery was breathtaking the smell was certainly a bit overwhelming as well (breathcatching? breathstifling?).
After a long drive back, in the back of the truck, Inspector Climate and I returned to our hotel in Tanna called Evergreen for a late dinner (well late for me, dinner past about 7 is late for me. Sad but true). For Inspector Climate, it was the best meal he'd had the whole time he was Vanuatu. He had local fish cooked in a banana leaf with vegetables and rice. I had just the vegetables and rice (success, the gluten free vegetarian had food to eat too!).
We spent the night under this mosquito netting in a small little cottage (can it be a cottage sans kitchen?)
Again, Inspector Climate using every opportunity to be silly:
I'd like to thank Unity Airlines for giving us a discount on this trip because of this blog. It was an absolute pleasure to fly with them and be part of their tour and I'd highly recommend them to anyone who is planning a trip to Vanuatu. You cannot go to Vanuatu without going to Mt Yasur, I didn't write the rules, btiches.