Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Erupting dugong in Vanuatu

But it didn't end there (from previous post).
We heard tell of a dugong that villagers summoned from the deep so travelled down in the back of a ute to see it. Called by slapping cupped hands on the surface of the water, it swam in after about 30 minutes and lolled about in the shallows, all 4 metres of it. Now I should have noticed that the villagers only went in ankle deep but I wanted a closer look so floated out above it unafraid because it has no teeth and no arms and spends its day peacefully grazing seagrass.
The damn thing grabbed me between its big floppy nose and chest and dived to the bottom of the ocean. Ok I was in a bit of shock but things crossed my mind. Am I wrong about the teeth? Does a dugong know how long a not very fit man can stay under water? Thankfully no teeth and he let me go before I ran out of breath so no harm done except lacerations to the chest from his short bristly hairs.
On the way back our guide suggested having a look at the volcano. Now that has teeth! We walked high amongst a moon scape with the guide showing us where 3 people had died last year from flying boulders and after depositing us at the edge of the crater didn't notice again that he sat 50 metres away. It's a wonder I'm still alive I learn so slow.
The crater was deep and in the centre the lava was rolling and gurgling away golden bright in the smoky darkness. Slowly it got smaller and smaller until we couldn't see anything. Then B-Boom like the end of the world and a huge shower of lava gets flung high in the air. Denise started running and didn't stop until she got to the carpark. I had the video camera running but it only shows my feet with a long drawn out expletive. It was an amazing experience. In fact an amazing day!

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