Volcanic adventure

“The precipitous mist that clung to the peaks of this volcanic island did little to obscure the ominous scene that was quickly emerging in front of our boat,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Elisabeth Ponsot describes approaching Whakaaari/White Island, 48km off the East Coast of the North Island. “Jets of hot steam wafted from the island’s craters, coalescing at the volcano’s main vent to form an ash-gray cloud that hung high in the air. An awed silence fell upon the crowd of photo-snapping tourists gathered on the boat’s bow as our vessel slowly snaked its way toward the island’s base. As we disembarked onto White Island’s sandy coast in small groups, we were each handed a gas mask and a yellow hard hat — just in case.”

Tags: North Island  Post Gazette  Volcano  White Island