The story so far.. We have arrived in Rotorua, which is a town with lots of geothermal activity, such things include; geysers, hot springs and mub baths that explode! The first thing that you'll notice is the constant steam that rises from various locations around the town, the second thing is the smell! It's like being sat next to someone on the bus who brings rotten egg sandwhiches and farts.. alot!.. Blur!
We found a campsite conviently located because, across the road was a watering hole called The Corner Pub. Here we went for a well earned pint after a long days travelling! We walked in thinking it would be full of travelling types with maps on tables looking for their next point of interest.. Er no.. It was more like youth club! In fact any Friday or Saturday night in the George! Some of you will appreciate that more than others. So after a few drinks and pointing to the various taps, due to the overly friendly bar maid who had a face like a slapped backside! We got talking to a female who stumbled her way, literally to the bar, it was here she started talking at us about "a look" that I had missed from Lisa, which in all intent purposes she understood as some kind of marriage proposal???!!!! It didn't take her too long to discover once we could get a word in, that we weren't from around here, It was upon this point that she turned to use and said the immortal words..."are you guys pommes??" priceless!
Saturday we went into town to the museum which once upon a time was a bath house, it was used as an alternative therapys place to treat such illnesses and conditions like: arthritis, gout, eczema, psoriosis, erectile dysfunction, gout, high blood pressure, headaches, gout, muscle fatique and gout. They also had mud baths which treated very similar things including.. Yes you got it... Gout! It unfortunatly closed down due to it becoming a health hazard due to many problems with plumbing, the fact being the water rotted away the pipes, it even took the enamel off the baths too, god knows what it did to peoples skin!
The town of Rotorua back in the 1800s used to have pink and white terraces where people used to hath in the mineral baths, that was until around 1870 something when the mountain in Rotorua erupted covering the town in a blanket of dust, devasting many homes and claiming the lives of around 150 people. The terraces were completly destroyed. The town took quite a few years to recover and you can usually tell when it's becoming prosperous because a Mc Donalds opens!
Around the out skirts of the town we've been to see many examples of boiling mud holes, sulphur pools bubbling away at around a constant 80c. We went to hells gate where there are loads more pools some very toxic if you wandered into them. I think we also met posh radio 4lady here too, she spoke to us about the constant bubbling and crackling of ghe pools, she said in a very posh soft voice "I've been told whilst their doing this it reduces the chances of another eruption" I think she said she'd probably heard it on the Scot Mills show or national geographic.
Yesterday, Sunday, we went in search of dolphins and whales in the Bay of Plenty, we spoke to a lovely lady at tourist information at Whakatane who apparently had some hot line to the dolphins telling her that they weren't coming in just yet, and probably going to stop out for another month or so! dolphins don't do curfews! So a little bit put off by that we got given lots more alternative things to do like walks, horse riding & places to stand to sight see, when we noticed a brochure to a place called White Island, it's a real active live volcano! WOW! Funnily enough on our way down there we spoke about how cool it would be to see one! Even a dormant one! so we hit the jack pot with this. Unfortunatly the boat had already left for the day, the whole journey takes 6 hrs, however you can take a helicopter for $400 each, so we waited to go on the boat the following day! That only cost $175 each, that's about 80 quid. So camp site found followed by nice meal at an Indian restaurant ready for a good nites sleep. Camp site right next to the beach looking out over the pacific ocean! We got a phone call in the morning to confirm our place and we would be sailing due to the weather. Now when we enquired it was blistering hot sunshine and very calm waters, we know this because we went for a stroll along the beach. This morning it was over cast with a wind, therfore waves! This strange phenominon didn't register until after breakfast, say time of embarking the choppy seas that maybe corn flakes and that second cuppa weren't such a good idea! After a grand total of 15 minutes on top deck going up and down and up and up more then down, one decided to move south and sit looking out the back of the vessel at a beautiful horizon! Recomended by many a seaman that. Lisa however was like a female captain jack sparrow and enjoying many a good roll on the front of ship! Savvy! To my credit I did keep my breakfast in one place.. Me.. Others unfortunatly didn't, one girl must have filled the best part of nearly 6 sick bags! By the end of the journey I would say nearly a third of the 24 passengers felt or had seen what they'd eaten again in the last 24 hrs! Anyway the White Island, we got issued with a hard hat and a gas mask. We had to be shuttled off the boat on an inflattable raft to the island, here we stood next to an old sulphur factory which I'll bore you some more with later! We walked up to the place where the last eruption occurred back in 2000, lasting about 80 seconds, they say it erupts every 9 years! No not realy that's a lie, they don't really know when it will again, it does do lots of minor tremors every day. There are lots of technology stuff on there measuring the temperature and gases and stuff. They had these huge holes in the side of the Walls to the volcano pushing out loads of steam and a really strong smell of sulphur. When the wind changes course it totally takes your breath away hence the gas mask! We got told when this happens to stop walking as it's like a thick fog, a real pea soup! And if you wander only a few inches off the path you could walk on to a soft sulphur rise, which is a thin crust of sulphur covering very brittle rocks and debry from prevous explosions which have possible water pools below measuring between 98 to 110C. People have been known to go upto their knees in this! We made our way to the pool in the middle of the volcano here the water is constantly bubbling away, the ph level at it's worst was reported to be -0.6 but usually measures around -0.1 either way it's like pure acid! You wouldn't last long if you decided to bathe in it! One bloke did actually jump in, his boots left on the side, his body was never found! The sulphur mine was active back in the 1920's and only stayed open for around 10 years. The ironic thing is that which ever company owned the mine, they all went bust! There are only rusted iron remains of the mill, which like most things on the island get corroded and chemically burned from it's harsh environment. The only remain still in relatively good state of repair is a set of tractor tyres. The reason if course as I'm sure you'll know, is to make rubber go hard when they vulcanise it, they have to use sulphur! So as a service to all volcano watchers, the best advice to live a longer life on volcanos is vulcanise yourself, Stretch Armstrong would last years out there!
Anyways it's bed time now so gonna drift off into a deep sleep happy and content that we've practically stared death in the face! Happy dreams love LisaB and Wic X
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