This is a scary place.
We came here on our honeymoon back in 1996 and stayed in the little village at the foot of the volcano. As we approached by ferry we could see smoke and ash erupting from the cone. One side of of the island was basically burnt to a crisp and covered with ash and hardened lava.
It is beautiful and desolate and you have a sense that it could be wiped from the face of the earth at any moment.
We hired a guide who took us up to the edge of the caldera at sunset. Halfway up we came to a rope strung across the trail with a sign warning that to go any further was to risk death. Our guide lifted the rope and we all continued on. There were a few nervous chuckles.
We reached the top at nightfall and sat on a ridge a few hundred meters above the crater watching gouts of lava and flame shoot into the air, and feeling the ground rumble constantly under foot.
Our guide told us that a few months earlier a couple had brought sleeping bags and camped out at the top, only to be awakened by a shower of molten rock in the middle of the night. They fled in terror and one broke a leg stumbling down the side of the mountain and had to be rescued by helicopter.
For our part we made it down safely, trudging through thick fields of ash with wet towels wrapped around our faces for protection.over 6 years ago