Left Past the Fumaroles

After a 2-minute helicopter ride from Whakatane airport to White Island, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Keith Austin’s “first aerial impression is of a volcano from a movie, albeit with one side completely, awesomely, blown out.” “The steam rising from the greenish lake in the middle accentuates that impression,” Austin describes. “It’s a smouldering giant, all right. Once on land and equipped with orange hard hats and lightweight respirators, we set off towards the lake. Off to the left dozens of volcanic fissures, or fumaroles, constantly vent gases into the air in the form of great billowing clouds of steam that hiss and rumble and bellow. Never before has the Earth’s crust seemed so thin or fragile — or so exhilarating.”

Tags: Sydney Morning Herald (The)  Whakatane  White Island