8-27 My Mommy Came to Visit; Part 4, Things that go BOOM!

Mount Yasur

We got to Tanna in the rain. The east side of the islands tend to get a lot of rain as it comes across the Pacific. Tanna is no exception. Jake’s site is worse than most, because the clouds get stuck on the peak of the mountains and just hang out over his house. Tanna is also much, much cooler than Pentecost. I spent most of the time wishing for another layer of clothing, something I never thought would happen in Vanuatu.

Footprints in the ash
Our first day there, we just sort of hung out. We were both tired from all the travel and Jake wasn’t ready for us since we’d come a day early. It was good to get a little down time. We ate with his awesome host family, which we proceeded to do every day until we left. He has a great host family and a really active counterpart. Lucky man!
The next day my mom, Jake’s sister and I walked out to the ash plain. It reminds me of Yellowstone National Park. This is what it will look like when the world ends. I had fun playing with the camera. I annoyed my mother with how many pictures I took, which is funny since she spent all week on Pentecost annoying me with how many she was taking.
This is what the apocalypse will look like.
Beautiful, in its own way.
The landscape is truly stunning. Black ash has been packed into striated sandstone by eons of time and weight. In places, the river has sliced down through the layers, showing off the line and whirls of time. The plants are all small and stunted, they can’t reach full growth because too much ash covers their leaves. Behind all of that, looms the vaolcano. It sends up trickles and spits smoke and sounds like distant thunder.
The next day, we went to the volcano. We walked about before hand and saw the bungalows and the preparations for Independence Day festivities. Then we headed up to the volcano. The best tiem to view the volcano is at dusk, so we started the walk around 3 pm. We got lucky, a truck picked us up.
The top has one of the
 best views around.
Down the rim of Yasur
The top of the volcano is even more barren than the ash plain. Closer to the volcano, more ash falls blocking just about anything from growing. I doubt that the steam vents help things grow, though I’m sure there are some sort of ameobal or fungal life that love that environment. Since the volcano is one of the highest points in the area, we had a pretty stunning view of the surrounding area. The evening light cast shadows that highlighted the contours of the land and made the river shine like glass.
Ma was not impressed with me looking over the rim.
In fact, she acted like a mother and told me to,
“Get away from that right now!”
So, I took our picture on the rim.  I’m a good daughter.
A little before dusk, we went up to the rim. It was amazing. I could stand on the edge and stare down into the molten lava. It put on some good fireworks for us, erupting about every ten minutes from one of the three craters. As it got darker, I could see the glow of the splattered lava until the next erruption. Truly, an awe-inspiring experience.
After that, the rest of the trip was anti-climactic. We hitched a ride back down and left Tanna in the morning. We had two nights in Vila. We spent a while kayaking and snorkeling and shopping at the mama’s markets. My mother went home well-loaded with baskets and mats. The suitcase she’d brought me full of treats from America went back full of treats from Vanuatu.
And then I took her picture on the rim
while things behind her went BOOM!


Better than fireworks!
I think it was a successful trip. I hope she enjoyed it, too.

Mount Yasur, a little after dawn.

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