Up Close and Personal With Violently Erupting Volcano
Abseiling towards a violently erupting lava lake might raise alarm bells in any sane minded person, however for a band of plucky adventurers from New Zealand and Britain this was just their intention in travelling to the remote island chain of Vanuatu.
Located in the tropical south Pacific, about a three hours flight north of New Zealand, Vanuatu is home to pristine beaches and reefs as well as extreme volcanism.
On the remote island of Ambrym lies a pipeline seemingly to the center of the Earth - the boiling lava lake at Marum volcano.
I joined expedition leader Geoff Mackley and his crew of climbing experts Drew Bristow and Johno Smith as well as cameramen Bradley Ambrose and Daniel Lacy on an expedition to go where no man has set foot before.
Wild weather, clouds of toxic fumes and the 500m shear cliffs surrounding the lava lake have prevented anyone from making it into the heart of the crater. Despite months of planning, 400kg of equipment and over one kilometer of ropes the team was unable scale the impenetrable volcanic fortress - a testament to the extreme forces that have carved the landscape.
The expedition was far from a failure as the team witnessed and shot some of the most dramatic and unique volcano footage in decades. And what better excuse to start planning a return trip...