VANUATU

 Ambrym, Marum, Benbow Volcano

April 23 - Mai 15/2012

Hian & Arnold Binas, M.Rietze, Th Boeckel

in deutsch

  Cinema 

Mount Etna April 2012, by Thorsten Boeckel


Google Earth Map

Map by Google Earth


    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Sydneys skyline, roofs of the Opera House and the imposant Harbor Bridge

What would  probably James Cook thought if it would have 1772 passes with his ship Resolution the mirrored facades of Sydney. In short, the contrast of two worlds was made to me clear once again, with the realization: modern against rustic. But latter is even more fun. The over long flight found its preliminary end in the capital Port Villa on the island of Efat. The next day belongs to the organization. It was important to establish contact with the guides in Endu on Ambrym and obtain potable water tanks (explanation below)

     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr

 Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Arrival at the air field Ulei/Ambrym, Highway Ulei/Endu

Easy handling with baggage. Houses in the village of Endu. The national flight on the Vanuatu Islands are exclusively be approached with twin-engine propeller aircrafts. The airport consists of a grass track, which turned out for the later take-off as a water trap. The baggage claim area was quite manageable and everthing runs none hectically and calmly.

Why the airport of Ulei? Graig Grove on the Ambrym island is normally the landing point. But a bitter land dispute exclaimed a taboo of the two tribal chiefs. However a meter high grass sprouts already on the landing strip. When this dispute finds an end is uncertain.

From Ulei we took the truck to the 10 km distanced village of Endu.

   Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel       mrmr

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Preparation of the volcano tour for seven days. Most important. The tanks were brought from Port Villa.

After we cordially received by the village people-and Chief Moses we were embrased in a classic Southsea style " flowersaroundtheneck. The tanks were filled with village spring water. Walking along the black sandy beach, we turned left in the jungle to the old caldera. OK it was murderous hot, but the coolness of the jungle was on our side. Generally, it can be said that the way was in a good shape. On the upper ash platteau on the so-called Ashplain, the terrain was well manageable and relatively easy to pass.

Drinking water was obtained from small rain-water lakes near the camp, and was boiled. The water was very clear, however you cannot exclude bacterial contamination (animal droppings, etc.) during a week of staytime. Disinfection with Micropur was successfully been applied as a security precaution. We also  desinfected the village spring water. But this works only reliably in tanks!

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Crater edge of Marum. Partly strong winds on the ash platform at Marums crater can break down tents.

Strong winds in the upper crater plain maltreated Arnold's tent till the top pole broke. Challenging tinkering an hour at the camp inspired the imagination.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Dense fog in and over the crater. Sunset between the volcano gases of  Marum

 Every night the same procedure. Just in time before for the onset of dawn the fog suddenly appeared. The free night view in the crater was barred until the end of our observation time. Only the first night there was temporarily a clear view on the lava lake.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

   Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietze     Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr

The mighty crater of Marum. Very steep crater walls requires steady carefullness. The lava lake of apprx. 40m in diameter in a depht of apprx. 250-300m.

When it comes to the rare event of a completely clear view, you are overwhelmed at first by the dimension of the 2km wide main crater. On the bottom a centric lain apprx.40m in diameter wide lava lake is positioned. Despite the depth of 250 meters, enough details could be captured at the crater edge. Attention with wind gusts! You should have a safe stamina and a good sense of balance. And if not, it goes right down because the first 150m of the crater walls have partly a near-vertical down grade, and you'll enjoy the free fall really undisturbed. So far, such extremely steep walls I've seen very seldom.

 

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

First view in the underworld. A wild bubbling lava lake from both view positions.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Like crystalline basalt the mighty walls rise above 100m (Andesitic?). Peles Hair was found in a somewhat coarser structure like at Erta Ale. Faded or eroded sand bars adorn the area around the crater.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

On the fourth day it came to a clear view on the lava lake without steaming. Remarkable was that the silver lava crust reflected strongly in the sun.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Detailed structures of the big lava bubbles.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Detailed structures like a net are shown in the lava bubbles which had a diameter up to 20m. This free sight on the lake was very seldom. The activity fluctuated within 10 minutes from quiet phases to wild bubbling. Ejecta and lava bubbles were observed during the entire residence for seven days

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Landscape of  the upper area of the volcano plateau. Walking to Benbow crater

        Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    mr  Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

The tour to the Benbow volcano. The eroded ash canyons and ridges are partly covered with a thin layer of bright green moss. In the ravines and on the basis of often small ferns and orchids can be discovered.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Down roping into the Benbow crater. The steeper walls/slopes can also made without a rope, but you should be experienced with descending difficult rocky terrains. . If you have doubts, always fix a rope! The lava lake at Benbow crater was very deep and could not be seen from the inner rim. In the eastern direction a small side lain crater had a little spattering. Daredevil acrobatics over the crater rim had indeed shown the vent, but the flight ambitions into the interior would have made this action not worthwhile.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   

Back to the fourth day. The boiler action at Marum on a clear day. The vent in front of us was not visible from the SO position, but the lava fountains 'jumped' out behind the rock scenery in a fantastic colour.

 Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   

  Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietze      Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietze      Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr

  Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr

Standing on the NW-position, the sun was standing slightly against us. This change had its own light colour effect. Again the silver lava crust reflected. Tumbling crater walls were not uncommon, and underscore the vitality of the activity. The dense fog returns just in time.

     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr

The story of Marum. This handwritten strory from Solomon our guide explains the spirit of the volcano. For more Infos write him. Address: Solomon Johnson, c/o Ulei Airport, Endu Village, South-East Ambrym - VANUATU.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Daylight impressions of the crater and our camp. Middle: The days were passing and the visibility was again modest, board games in volcanic ash can shorten the waiting time to clear view. In 'Five wins' white and black stones were abundant. Chess pices, we have not found.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Carlo is carving eating sticks for Hian. This mades the first Vietnames women on this island more than happy by handling the instand noodle dish.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietze    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Base camp 30 minutes down from the crater. Back view from to the Marum caldera while leaving the volcano.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Traditional Kastom dance of the people of Endu village. Middle. A Tiki for may stopping the rain?

Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel     Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel       

Also a very traditional Melanesian/Polynesian happy music style. The string band. The name of this bands results from the string fixed with the wooden box and a stick. This instrument presents the bass part.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

The church of Endu with its unique clock tower. A gas bottle and an iron bar as a bobbin announce you the full hours.  Right the altair.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Women of Endu village are preparing the traditional main dish LAPLAP. The essential part is Maniok and Coconut, you can also take some fish or meat in this well tasty " big bread"

Ambrym, Marum Volcano by M.Rietzemr  Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel   

Heavy rain falls after returning from the volcano were flooding the grass runway in Ulei and the starts were probably not possible. This was caused by the change of the weather current. Now, the southerly flow brought a lot of moisture with it. Heavy rains on the islands were the result, and so we come on to speculate how long we 'can stay' in future. There was also no way to leave the island by boat. The cobra boat that collects the coconut oil on the islands returns one time a month and resembled according to descriptions more like a trash container. Only after the energetic phone call by Arnold (respect!), Air Vanuatu sent an eight-seat replacement aircraft one day later, the launch was spectacular, but when the plane took off the R. Crusoe feeling disappeared rapidly.

Finally I would like to thank the community for the enduring extraordinary warmth and hospitality. Being on the tour as well as a stroll through the village, there was always a helpful person available your side. Rarely I met so sincere and honest people.

Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel    Ambrym, Marum Volcano 2012, by Th. Boeckel

Over-flying the coral reefs. Market women in Port Villa

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© 2012, Photos and text from Thorsten Böckel, last modification 06/02/2012