As promised, here is a report on our hike up the volcano from someone else's perspective for a change - Johnathan has written a little bit about his experience, and he has agreed that we can share it.
Report on Ambrym the volcano hike (Johnathan)
I got up at around 0540 hrs (still dark) and then at around 0615, Tim came in Blue Gum and picked us up to go to the shore. Once we were on shore we met up with the rest of the Honeys and then at 0633 the pickup truck (Ute) came, and took us up to the village. At the village, Tim and Jude got out and we continued on with Samuel and Ella.
We kept going for around twenty minutes then we got to a clearing where the truck pulled in and we all got out. We loaded up our bags and set off. Once we were out the truck pulled out of the clearing and headed back to the village.
Samuel, Ella, and Vicky and I (all the kids), started to pull ahead but then after about twenty minutes the grownups started catching up so when we reached the rest spot we only got about one minute's rest before the grownups got there and we had to go again. We started off again and then after a while of hiking Samuel and I started pull ahead so we were the first people to reach the ash plains.
We sat and waited for a bit and eventually the rest of the group came along; as it turned out, Vicky had thrown up on the path and one of the guides was carrying her pack. Now that she was better we (the kids) were able trade around the packs so at any one time at least one person was having a break from carrying a bag, or if Samuel was carrying two bags two people were free. When Samuel carried my bag he gave me his so now I had the lighter bag which was nice so I carried it most of the way along to the volcano.
The ash plains were by far the easiest to walk on, considering they were flat and the rest of the hike was relatively steep. So we walked along the plains for about two hours(?) then we got to the beginning of the actual volcano. It was weird how when we were walking on the ash plains if you looked at the mountain it looked like it was retreating.
Before we started to go up the actual volcano, our guides told us that we shouldn't talk too loudly, so I think they have a belief that you should sneak up quietly on a volcano. It was cool how different it was to walk on the volcano rather than in the jungle on the first hill. On the volcano, instead of walking in the shade with vegetation and stuff making it so that you could only see however far it was the to the next turn, you were walking on a gravelly ridge-line so it was possible to see for miles! It was a bit scary not being able to grab on to trees and scrub if you slipped: in the ridge-line you just had to hope you kept your balance.
At the top of the volcano it was surprisingly easy to breath because when Honey had done the hike two years ago they had had to go back down because of all the sulphur on the air making it hard to breath. When we got up it was nice and clear so when you went to the edge and looked down, you could see the lava and magma bubbling at the bottom, when I was doing something — maybe getting food, I lost my grip on my hat so it went cartwheeling over the lip of the crater, I'm sorry to say I haven't seen that hat again — which is sad because it was a really nice hat, but that is beside the point.
After we ate lunch our guides hustled us back down the mountain and to the ash plains again where we stopped at the site that people sleep at if they stay overnight. At the camp mum got out a packet of short bread cookies which were pretty old but not that horrible. We rested there for about ten minutes then we were on the trail again and somehow we managed to cross in about three quarters of our first time. When we reached the jungle Samuel and I sped ahead again and we went so fast we thought we had gotten lost because we had passed through so many spiderwebs that should have been broken when we went through the first time, as it turned out they had just been fast builders and after waiting and listening for a sec we heard the murmur of conversation so we kept going; when we reached a medium sized Banyan tree I had a great idea to hide in it until the rest of the people came, so Samuel suggested that we climb up so we did and after about five minutes, we heard them coming but Vicky glanced up our tree and saw us which kind of spoilt it.
We climbed down and kept going and this time Ella and Vicky kept up with us so we all reached the first rest spot in no time. Once everyone else caught up, we rested then ran ahead again, we reached the truck's clearing and after waiting for the grownups to catch up, we start to hike back along the trail the truck had taken to get up. And let me tell you: it is way faster in a truck, although we made pretty good time and I carried both my bag and the girls' bag which was pretty light because they had drunken most of the water.
Ella, Vicky, and I (Samuel was talking airplanes with Dad) ran down the track which was really fun, we would run as fast as we could down the steep parts of the trail and then keep rocketing on for another fifteen feet when we tried to stop. The guides led us off the big track and onto a smaller trail that was a bit steeper than the rest of the return hike. We kept going along that track for a bit and eventually came out into the village.
|Your hat went where ?|
|I don't see Johnathan's hat down there either.|