Worlds Deadliest Volcano, Tana Vanuatu

A roar like a mighty dragon ripped through the air booming a shockwave that sent us stumbling backwards. Angry orange, red and yellow comets blasted by force into the night sky creating a sound of crashing waves as they rained back down to earth. Dark black smoke and dust billowed and mushroomed in the air, in a massive display of constantly twisting and shifting shapes. “Cover your eyes” Dailin managed to bellow, before another round of booms like planets exploding rumbled the sooty ground. The wind whipped ash and black sand, pricking our bare skin and forcing us to close our eyes and wait for them to water up and clear.

Perched high on the top of Tana’s live volcano crater as the sun set we were experiencing it when the activity level of the volcano was two out of five. Typically they close it when it reaches level three because lava flies to the top of the crater and can incinerate tourists which is bad for business and your complexion. As the sun disappeared the bubbling magma glowed orange illuminating everything like a moving chandelier as glowing lava bombs blew into the air and dropped.

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“Just remember” our friend Michel warned “if you see a lava bomb coming down near you don’t run, look up and watch to see where you need to move”

After a particular monstrous eruption Teyauna would cling to my leg as silence would fall and the anticipation would build waiting for the next blast. Then 3 minutes later when the volcano would start spewing Alyssa would quickly turn around and get people to snap her picture with the glowing rocks shooting up behind her.

For most the time Zack was happy bundled up in mom’s sweater and could grab her every time it would rumble and afterward yell “WOOOOOW”! Mom was content with staying back a little and telling Eli to come back from the ledge as him and Orin would get close to it seeing who could throw rocks the farthest into the crater.

Dad filmed the landscape around us which was desolate black sand for miles pocked with cooled lava bombs. The view from on top of the mountain of soot was breathtaking and not just for the lava but in all directions. Around us in the sky and the hills the steam from the volcano clung to the trees like mist and created an eerie feeling of doom.

On the way back down in the dark our flashlight caravan took probably longer than was needed careful not to trip, even falling one foot to the side and you would crash thousands of feet down through jutting rocks. Passing the “think safety” sign I smirked at the irony of having that posted next to the world’s most accessible and dangerous volcano. As we got into the 4WD truck the sharp rocks reminded me of stories of fleeing tourists who had close calls and split heads in what some call “the most dangerous spectator sport on earth”.

Jaeden Schafer

I love to travel, and do adventurous things. I write for publications on the topics of Leadership, Business and Marketing. Studied Business Managment Marketing at BYU-Hawaii.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Bad for business and your complexion? Hillarious!

  2. Yikes, I can’t believe that you guys did that!!! I am grateful you guys are still alive. My kids want to live with you guys 🙂

  3. Wow! What a thrill. Both beautiful and deadly sights. I’ll bet you have dozens of photos to share with everyone back home.
    When will you be back in Victoria ? We will be at our daughter Maria’s in Bothel, WA from 26 Nov – 3 Dec to spent Thanksgiving with them.
    Ron & Barb

  4. Wow! Whoever wrote this news worthy editorial depiction of your experience viewing this magnificent volcanic eruption should go into writing books. What a great picture painted verbally. It made us feel as though we were there, excitement quickened our breath as we read faster and faster, trying to get as much in as we could, hopeing against hope that nothing went wrong. Beautifully done. We sure enjoy your exploits, and are looking forward to seeing you on your return home. Safe times and love to all, T & B

  5. Very impressive…..I’m speaking of Jaeden’s writing. ; ) What an experience! I’m happy to have it vicariously. Haha.

  6. Absolutely NO EXAGGERATION HERE, that was the most impressive scary, scintillating description of your experience that could possibly be written in my opinion.

    Jaeden, did you write that? You must consider a career in writing suspense novels. Oh that was good. so so good.

    Not to overdo it but I had to read it twice just to get the full power of it.

    You may have improved it slightly by telling us that

    “Orin held tightly onto Eli with both hands as Eli was hung over the edge of the volcano to get a clearer picture when the next lava bomb was shot out”

    Oh my. that was a treat!! Thank you. Grandpa

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