Monday 5 December 2022

Fire and ice

In an ideal world, this title would introduce an entry about viewing Fagradalsfjall, that spectacular volcano in Iceland, which is still erupting, since August. I would love to be there, seeing it in person, as it adds extra drama to Iceland's already spectacular scenery.

But no, it's Mauna Loa on Hawaii's Big Island that has been - despite competition from Tonga and Java - most dominant in recent news. Though it too has so far been more of an attraction than an inconvenience, it's now beginning to threaten the main road that rings the island. That would mean a long and tedious detour all the way around the other side, so no doubt the locals are crossing their fingers right now. Which is, of course, all you can do, with volcanoes.

When we were there, on an Uncruise er, cruise, in 2016, the mountain was actually covered in snow - in December! (Yes, I know Hawaii's north of the equator, but it's still a Pacific island and, well, December is summer in the Pacific...) Otherwise, though, it was an unremarkable hump on the horizon. All the big action was taking place further along at Kilauea, where we went on a lava-viewing outing on a boat that still astonishes me we were allowed to do - that skipper was incredibly laid-back, given all the fire and steam we were so close to.

We do do volcanoes here in Enzed, of course. A series of eruptions created Lake Taupo 300,000 years ago, the Oruanui eruption 70,000 years ago still the biggest the world has known - so it does make us a little nervous, when there are earthquakes there, as there have been recently, even causing a small tsunami along the shore.

It's not as if we needed reminding of that sort of thing. Netflix is about to release a documentary about the Whakaari/White Island eruption disaster which is going to bring that awful event back into the limelight again. Thanks, Leo.

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