Every month, discover a “travel” story of a member of the Flockeo team. This winter, discover the volcanoes with Cathy.
I have always been fascinated by volcanoes. Probably because I had a chance to attend a conference of Haroun Tazieff when I was little… The younger ones surely don’t know him. So this is an opportunity to go and see his profile and discover his story. He was also one of the first to warn of global warming. Over 40 years ago, he was told, « you’re freaking people out! ». Because he explained that « pollution releases an enormous amount of carbon dioxide » and that it « risks turning the atmosphere into a kind of greenhouse... There could be a global greenhouse effect, a warming of 3°F or 5°F of the temperature of the atmosphere….».
This passion for volcanoes has for sure influenced some of my destination choices. That’s why I would like to tell you about 4 volcanoes I had the chance to discover during my travels. Each one has its own exciting story!
More than 3,500 years ago, the very violent eruption of the Santorini volcano formed the caldera. Although new scientific studies tend to deny it, I like to think that this phenomenon is related to the famous myth of the Atlantean civilization. So I felt the need to visit this exceptional volcano. Doing so, I had the impression to follow the traces of a lost civilization! We thus had to go to Nea Kameni. Around 1570, this island appeared as an islet. It grew regularly with the various eruptions.
Of course from Santorini, many excursions are possible that provide a more or less complete visit of the caldera. The day before, our host had advised us to go there by our own means. So we left for the port of Fira, in search of a fishing boat. We found it easily, since tourism is a national sport there! On site, the course was well marked and the explanations were clear. We found ourselves in a desolate landscape with the scents of sulfur and the colors of orange and yellow. This volcanic monochrome contrasted with the deep blue of the sea.
Some gas fumaroles reminded us that the volcano is still active. We spent the afternoon there enjoying the steaming environment. Under our feet, we felt the volcanic intensity. The turquoise waters were an invitation to refresh ourselves.
I had the chance to go twice to Guadeloupe. We thus made twice the trip of the Soufrière. It is one of the most magical and mysterious places in Guadeloupe. The climb and the sensations are different each time because the weather conditions can change very fast. In turn, you may find yourself in a mist mixed with the smoke of the volcano, or be lashed by a strong wind, or simply be warmed by the Caribbean sun. And finally enjoy a breathtaking view.
It is not only a volcano, but also the highest point in the Lesser Antilles with its 4,813 feet high. The Soufrière is called vié madamm la in Creole (i.e., the old lady). It is part of a volcanic chain that includes 5 other volcanoes. To go there, it’s easy. From the town of Saint-Claude, the Yellow Baths are accessible through a pretty tropical forest road, where there is a small parking lot. The climb is quite short. The tropical forest gives way to a rather open environment. The vegetation disappears at the bend in the paths to be replaced by a very stony landscape.
At the top, we found a rocky and smoky environment with strong smells of sulfur. It is the heart of the volcano, we feel its power.
How to put it? There is not one volcano in Iceland. Iceland as a whole is alive and bubbling with volcanic activity. There are more than 200 craters including 130 active volcanoes. That is true happiness! It is from Iceland that Jules Verne takes us to the center of the earth. Of course, Iceland is straddling 2 tectonic plates: on one side the American plate, on the other, the Eurasian plate. It is a direct dive into the depths of the earth!
I found there everything about volcanoes and its unique experiences. I was able to walk on a rift in Thingvellir Park. Have fun watching geysers springing up in Geysir. Bathing in warm water surrounded by nature in Fludir or Reykjadalur (please avoid Blue Lagoon!). Discover basaltic organs that offer a breathtaking landscape in the Skaftafell Park. Walk on a black sand beach in Vik. And, of course, climbing volcanoes (you can’t miss them). I strongly advise you to go to the Westman Islands. They concentrate a strong volcanic activity which gave birth to the small island of Surtsey that came out dramatically of the deepest part of the ocean only in 1963!
I finish this list with Hawaii. A trip to the breathtaking landscapes of Hawaii alone is exceptional. In the rugged landscapes of Kauai, made up of cliffs, gigantic waterfalls and rainforest one almost expects to see dinosaurs. After an inevitable stop at the famous beach of Waikiki and a visit full of history of Pearl Harbor, big island, here we come! It is officially called Hawaii and its Volcanoes National Park has 2 active volcanoes: Kilaunea and Mauna Loa. I spent only one night in the park but I really advise you to make a stop there.
Many hikes allow you to discover these lunar landscapes. You will be able to see the different lava flows forming rocky clusters in which life reclaims its rights. You may be lucky enough to see a small eruption! One month before my trip, the Kilaunea volcano created an improbable smiley that made the buzz on social media!
As for me, I witnessed the most spectacular rainbow!