Flying above lava

Vanuatu - Posted On

Tanna Island is reputed for it active volcano Yasur, said to be the most reachable in the world. At 400m above sea level, it takes us a full day to walk on a bush road from the boat to the Volcano base through beautiful jungle trees and native villages.  

We admire now our planet talking directly to our soul. Rumbling sound and massive explosion occur ahead of us, at the end of that smoking track, fumes coming from the very volcanic underground. 

A parking place lies oddly at the bottom of the last climb that leads us to the very lips of the crater. It makes either a perfect take off or a landing area. As well as it seems to be the reason of the entrance fee of the park.

From what I could search so far as information, none have ever tried to fly around here. 

Taking off would just give me a very tiny flight… but still, it means flying on an active volcano, which is not given everyday. Let’s stop thinking and just go! That first time gives me an idea of what it could be from a higher … and most dangerous place, I mean the very lip of the crater. 

Subsequently I climb there, a spot where we realize how much the intensity of the explosion can scare men and women, and inspire religion. With a violent explosion in the background, I get my wing up and follow the outer side of the mountain. It’s quite easy to follow, just go where there is no fire, lava and explosion! 

Three minutes later I land in the large and wide area, made of black and warm sand, circled by fumes coming from the ground. I just made the first real flight from an explosive volcano! What will come next? 

We stay for hours watching at night lava blasting up of hundreds of meters, dropping back down where it just came from.

The following day, we realize there’s a free and beautiful way to see the crater. We walk to the ash plain on the northern side and climb up the sandy steep. It’s a difficult ascent on ash that takes us half an hour with very strong dynamism. It’s the ‘local people’ way of climbing. Much cheaper (free!), and we get higher on the mountain. For those who pick this way, make sure the wind doesn’t blow ashes, smoke and lava on you! 

At the top, a rounded sandy area makes an excellent spot for taking off. Just trying to forget that an atomic bomb explodes every minutes a few hundreds of meters away, I set myself ready for flying while Adrien stands up behind to make sure no wind would take me by surprise into the crater. I must say it would be quite embarrassing…

Once in the air, with deep rumbles and high flying burning stones behind, I keep focused on the activities that could result from the deep movement of air going up nearby. But none there is and I enjoy a beautiful sort of soaring very like on a dune. For an hour I can play, even share my joy with some kids wanting to hook under my harness for some sparse seconds of flight, near the ground. 

At a moment, a thermal or similar takes me up, and I can admire the lava jumping high in the sky above me, but still far enough to give me the ability next to write these very lines….

What a CRAZY adventure!