Thursday’s Special: Adrenaline

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

The skies around Yasur volcano are pumped with adrenaline and certainly a sky and an experience that you wouldn’t forget — ever. Particularly if you were a strapping Scottish lad who had flown in for an overnight stay at our resort on the island of Tanna Vanuatu. The tour started as normal – we  explained the dangers they would encounter from the pieces of flying lava and then happily the group joined the driver of the tour vehicle. Some chose to ride in the cabin others on the tray at the back. This was something that was not permitted in their countries of origin and our guests seemed to want the experience, the first rush of adrenaline. The first view of the volcano is spectacular as you reach the top of the mountain range which divides the island in two. Enough to make you almost forget the adrenaline that is pumping in plenty at the hairiness of the road on which you are travelling.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Once off the mountain range you find yourself on the ash plain. Lake Siwi is no longer there. A cyclone dumped an amazing amount of water carving a channel through the plain and emptying the lake into the sea destroying a village in the process. The gorges left in the old lake floor are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. But when the Scot visited us the lake was still a lake.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

You felt as though you were on another planet. No life seemed to survive here.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Until you saw the lone horseman.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Even on the ash plain you could smell, taste, see and feel the force of the volcano as it exploded frequently  sending plumes of chemical  laden ash high into the sky and you knew that before too long you would be standing on the rim, looking into the cauldera.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

A bamboo rail fence shows the way up. The heat could be felt as you passed rocks. Some still glowed red.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

The plan was to arrive near dusk so that you could see the action during the day but also by night when the burning colours of the molten rocks and the explosions were constrasted starkly against the pitch black of night. Note the terrain. The fence only went to the top of the volcano. The best viewing point was further to the right. Once up the top there was no guide rail to show you the way or fence to advise that this is as close as you should go.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

I was always amazed that people stood right on the edge of the rim. The explosions shook the earth. Did they not consider that they were merely standing on compacted ash and one huge explosion could see them landsliding into the bowels of the earth?

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

The wait for night gave a fantastic sight. However, for our Scotsman, who wandered a bit further away from the group and with a guide that had forgotten to take the torches that night, it turned into a night of terror. The group left the volcano leaving him alone on the edge in the smelly darkness. Absolute black is disorienting. He had no idea how to get down. There were no stars to guide him. The terrain was conducive to stumbles which could send you hurtling headlong either down the steep side of the volcano or worse into it. The tour group had returned to the other side of the island before they realised one of the party was missing. They returned to the volcano and found a man petrified with fear. His adrenaline had all but run out.

Back at the resort our adrenaline was starting to pump. Why were they so late back? Some of our fears on this occasion were unfounded but for the Scot I know he will never forget his night on the volcano.

In response to Paula’s guest bloggers prompt adrenaline in unusual places such as the sky.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
This entry was posted in Memoir, Nightmare in Paradise, photography, Thursday's Special and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Thursday’s Special: Adrenaline

  1. Paula says:

    I can’t imagine better representation for adrenalin-drenched scene than your photos and your narrative. I think that you are brave, Irene!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Adrenalin (response to guest challenge) | Lost in Translation

  3. Spindly posts marking the trail to an inferno, a man lost at the precipice, guided only by molten explosions – enough adrenalin for the village destroyed. What a story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. alexraphael says:

    You got closer than most people! Had to come along after Paula introduced us

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charli Mills says:

    Amazing! This is the kind of personal essay you can write to bring attention to your book when you are ready to publish. You could look for places to submit now. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just have to have the time Charli and it would be out there. Unfortunately I have a time limit on my research and I’m now feeling the pressure weighing me down. So much so that I am struggling to do anything. Luckily I am a goal oriented deadline driven person and I think I need this kind of pressure sometimes to get me to focus. The period of inability to move often gives my head the space to come up with just the idea to move me forward again and happily I think one of those moments came this morning.

      Like

  6. belindacrane says:

    You actually took me there Irene. I love the flow of your writing and it made me feel a little bit tense because of the possible dangers. Brilliant! I love feeling what I read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Suzanne says:

    Wow, what a story! Adrenalin plus. Your photos are excellent and make me feel like I am travelling along with you. The one of the man on the horse is brilliant. It would look fantastic blown up and hanging on the wall. Just whereabouts in the world is Yasur? You’ve really captured my imagination with this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Suzanne, glad I took you along for what is an experience of a lifetime. Mt Yasur is on the island of Tanna which is one of the Southern most islands in the Vanuatu group. I have blown the man on the horse up and it does look great, but I haven’t hung him on my wall.

      Like

  8. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  9. gahlearner says:

    This is an amazing story, frightening and fascinating. Thank you for pointing me here. The pictures are also great.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OMG. This must have been such a scary moments for the Scot. Also for all of you standing at the edge of the volcano. I get shivers thinking of volcano and seeing the inner crater of it. O dear.

    Truly must have been an adrenaline rush during the trip. Thanks for sharing these photos. They are really amazing.

    Where is this place located on the world map? Is it the same Vanatau which was recently hit by a severe cyclone?

    Liked by 1 person

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