Roger (UK) about his experience on the Round-The-World tour
Brian and Roger on their way to Yasur volcano
People visiting Yasur volcano at night
I took part in the pilot tour in the 1st quarter of 2010. I spent some time thinking about the tour, the travelling, the cost. Who would I meet, was Volcano Discovery a company I could trust.
In the end I took the plunge and booked about 4 weeks before we were due to depart.
The reality was that I thoroughly enjoyed the Round The World Adventure, yes that's what it felt like, an adventure. But one where I increased my knowledge of Volcanism and got close up and personal with lava. We were a small team of four which was supplemented by expert guides on each continent. I flew from London Heathrow to LAX and then onwards to Hawaii. I booked too late for a round the world ticket so Tom booked individual flights for me. This worked faultlessly.
On Hawaii the Hawaiian team (led by Phillip Ong) were superb, knew the best places to go and told us just about everything we needed to know about such 'hot spot'volcanoes. We observed and photographed the lava stood right on the crater rim. If the lava is entering the ocean at the time of your visit you can get right to the point by boat. The food and accommodation was good. New Zealand was equally stunning, no lavas here but time on the world's only approachable submarine volcano. The long distance traverse of the Tongiroro crossing was an unforgettable experience as was bathing in the geothermal hot streams/rivers!
We visited Vanuatu and spent several days on Tanna and the active Yasur volcano which is continually active. A place where risk assessment plays a part in keeping one safe. Another stunning up close and personal experience on an active volcano. I lived in a tree house for four nights! Accommodation is necessarily quite basic here but that only adds to the sensation of the trip. The food again was good. We then traversed Indonesia where we could observe the local population, their culture and food. The roads traffic has to be seen to be believed.
A particular highlight was a visit to the Ijen caldera with its extremely acid lake (<pH1), sulphur mines and vents. Gas masks (supplied) are needed here!
Visiting and camping on Anak Krakatau for 3 nights was one of the highlights. We camped in comfort and the camp staff supplied us with good food. During the day we were able to snorkel on the reefs, in the evenings we climbed to the crater rim to observe and take photos.
On arrival back in Jakarta we became victims of the Icelandic Volcano which grounded all European flights! I spent a good 2 days in Jakarta all paid for by Singapore Airlines!!!
In summary then:
The website description is an accurate representation of the trip.
The trip was well thought out, planned and executed. Although seemingly expensive I thought it was good value for money. I spent very little whilst on the trip, just tips to the camp staff really at the end. The trip was I thought a good mix of activity and relaxation. There are a lot of flights to contend with!
The small group size is a real bonus as it makes people interact properly with each other. It stops little cliques forming and makes group decisions so much easier. All the participants have the same interests (to get close up and personal with Volcanoes). This tends to negate conflict. I gained a greater practical understanding of Volcanism to complement my theoretical studies.
Volcano Discovery is a thoroughly reliable company. I have since been with them to Nyirogongo in the DR Congo, seen the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, been back to Krakatau for a longer visit, been to Santorini, Batu Tara expedition in Indonesia and in two weeks I go with them to Etna and Stromboli. In October I go to Nisyros! In each case I learnt more of Volcanoes, the local customs and ecology.
I'm a retired research chemist and Astronomer with a specialist interest in how planets form and the systems that make them work. When I retired I went back to university to study Geo and planetary sciences, hence my volcanic interests!
Travelling with Volcano Discovery in the last 3 years has enabled me to complement my theoretical studies with practical experience and also further knowledge. I've also made some good friends on the trips.
Would I do it again? : YES If you've any other questions then please ask."
(Roger V., UK)