White Island......wow wow wow
Hi folks......hope you are all enjoying yourselves and getting ready for Holloween. We hear that the weather in UK is not fine just now, well its pretty changeable down here too. The day we arrive in Whakatane - pronounced fa ka tan e..... yes, I'm not kidding as apparently all words starting with a WH the pronounciation starts off with FA......quite embarrassing sometimes!!!!
Back to the story,we were staying at Whakatane, simply for the convenience of the next day, a day trip 50km off shore to the only live and active NZ marine volcano. The day started late due to high winds and in the wrong direction making any possible landing onto the island extremely difficult and possibly not at all. We arrived to be told that an inflatable would be used to land us, then we would have to clamber over about 200m of extremely difficult huge boulders. Well needless to say, give us a challenge and us Brits rose to the occasion. Once on the island we were lead very carefully around the fragile landscape, feeding our way between very precarious looking terrain, trying to avoid bubbling pot holes, steaming geysers and very smelling sulpher laden vents on our way up to a lake in the vocanoes cone. I managed to put my foot through once, getting blown off balance by the very strong and gusty wind, whilst doing up my shoe lace. The lake was awsome.....a bubbling mass of streaming waters that smelt horrible. WE had been issued with crash helmets as complusory wear, and gas masks if we couldn't stand the smell...... we all wore them!!!
It was a truely wonderful priviledged experiance to be allowed to get so close to mother nature in the raw and see just how our land must have developed into what it is today. Yes, the volcano is still erupting and earth tremors are an almost daily occurance, but nothing major has happened for a few years.
On our return back to mainland, on our 73ft boat, we were all told to get inside, close the doors/hatches as the return trip headlong into the wind, was going to be rough.....it was, with the waves going right over us and thumping through the waves.
A truely fantastic trip, it didn't matter one bit that we were back two hours late before we could move onto our next B&B at Roturua just over an hour away.