08.11.2010 19 °C
On Saturday Nov. 6, we, along with the Cronsberry family, ventured 49km north of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty to White Island. This 150,000 to 200,000 year old marine volcano is New Zealand most active marine volcano, and yes, we walked in it‼
WhiteIsland from Sea; Approaching White Island; WhiteIsland Cronsberrys and Allores
White Island was first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1769. The volcanoes activity on this island has been closely monitored by scientists since 1967. Since this time the volcano has erupted once in the year 2000. Today, evidence of the volcanic activity is the regularly releases of ash plums and steam in the air that is visible from the main land.
Once we arrived at White Island, we were each given a hard hat and gas mask to wear. We then we took a small 40 horse power dingy over to the Island.
Unloading the Boat; Darth Vader Apprentices
Once on the island we where given a safety briefing on what we could and couldn’t do on the island. After that we went of on the tour of the island. On this tour we were able to view numerous steam vents and mud pools, as well as walk along the edge of the main creator of the volcano. While viewing the main creator we were very glad that we had the use of the gas masks for the steam and acid in the air made breathing rather difficult. We actually could not stay near the edge of the creator for very long since our eyes were stinging and the steam felt very hot. It was hard to see inside the actual creator because of all the steam but when the wind blew some of the steam away you could just see part of the green water that was in the creator.
Main Crater at White Island; Mud Bath . . . Care for a soak?; WhiteIsland
On the way back to the dingy the tour guide explained to us about some of the minerals found on the island and also about the history of the island. In the past, a few mining companies based on the island to mine sulphur from the volcanic rock. None of these companies lasted very long due to the unstable conditions of the volcano. In fact, in 1914 the western rim of the volcano collapsed resulting in a volcanic landslide that killed 10 men that were working in the islands sulphur mines.
The last thing that we did on this tour was look at the ruins of an old abandoned sulphur factory. Interestingly, it is Canadian Douglas Fir wood that was used for many of the support beans in this factory. These beams are still their today.
Ayden with Canadian Douglas Fir on White Island; Ayden and Claire on Anchor]
On Sunday Nov. 7, we went on another adventure with the Cronsberry family. This time we went back up to the Rotorua area for a hike and then for a swim in the hot pools at Kerosene Creek.
Hanging out at a dock Near Cascade Falls; Bronte, Ayden and Jack at Cascade Falls
Kerosene Creek is exactly that…a creek but the cool thing about it is that the water is warm; well, hot really, and the current is really strong. After changing into our “togs” (swim suits) in the bush we went swimming in the steaming water.
At one point in the creek there was a water fall which we could play in and around. The further up the creek that we went the water got a lot warmer and also the current got a lot stronger. It was fun to play in the water and feeling the power of the current.