Vanuatu

         Yasur, April 2008        

 by S&W Braunsdorf

 

in deutsch


Tour report Tanna/ VANUATU 21. April 2008 – 27. April 2008 

After a long journey over Dubai - Sydney - Noumea (New Caledonia) we reached after nearly 60 hours finally our destination without outdoor equipment, which inserted an „intermediate stop“at Sydney. At first we were told that one week before our arrival continuing rain weather was dominating at Vanuatu. Thus we had 2 rain days at our beginning tour, whereas the volcano Yasur was wrapped closely with clouds. No observation was possible at all.

   

One rain day on Tanna. Umbrellas grew everywhere…. Now we are actual on the Yasur and not on the Stromboli !!

The foot way from our accomodations in Port Resolution was approx. 2 hours up to the volcano. If you prefer the drive, you can take the jeep.Who want's to be closer to the happening, should quarter into „the jungle oasis". From there, it is approx. 45 min up to the edge of crater.

The map gives a good overview of the local area. Before entering the park area, you had to pay the admission fee.

But now to the volcano. First you pay an admission fee of 2.250 Vatu (= 15 EUR) is due. This fee decreases to zero at your fourth staying day. The volcanic activity of the Yasur is divided in 5 level (0-4). Starting from level 2 lava bombs can be ejected over the edge. Then the danger exists to get hit. In 1999 the activity reached a high level of 3. Due to the intensive lave outbursts, the bombs flew several hundred meters far beyond the crater.

Even if it seems to stand before a copy of the Stromboli the Yasur is substantially more active and more explosive. The eruptions arose from 4 chimneys in an average time of five minutes, whereas 2 pipes were active during our presence at least. Before the eruption material is to be seen, you can often observe pressure waves from the explosions in the sulfur gas clouds, which are emitted particular by the right crater. The episode of the eruptions did change daily. While at the beginning of the week mainly high liquid lava was ejected, ash emissions were dominating the scenario at the end of the week.

       

Red hot lava shreds were ejected under a loud thundering far over the edge of the crater. Some shreds measured nearly one meter in diameter.

But note: Who visits the Yasur without Guides, one should pay attention to the wind direction in each case. Because the cinders were strongly driven off by the strong west wind, the ejecta can reach the eastern edge of crater at any time. Then, mortal danger exists ! Situations are particularly critical, whereby strong gas missions circumvent the view on the chimneys almost to zero. The possibility of evading a falling cinder does not exist anymore. After the reports of our guides the accidents with fatal injuries which occurred several times at the Yasur, was the result of a very poor view condition,

    

At the end of the week the eruption ashes arose far over the edge of the crater nearly noiseless. Enormous ash clouds covered the environment on the west side of the Yasur. Violet lightnings inside the ash clouds were accompanied with loud bangs.

For a journey to the volcano Vanuatu you should plan you trip with enough time. Air Vanuatu does not fly always according to plan. Individual flights can fail due to technical problems, and the weather sometimes didn't allow risky flights. If you have time enough you sould visit the Loyality Islands which are situated 100 km norther of Noumera. Our tip is the Island Mare. This lime stone based island is the most untouched one. This picturesque nature and the beaches are phenomenal South Sea idylls. 

    

Crystal clear water in the coral see near of Tadine, Mare. The entire island is surrounded by a coral reef, which offers nearly in any place ideal snorkel conditions.

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© 2008 Photos and text by S&W Braunsdorf (S&W), last modification 8.8.2008, webbl and transl.boeckel.