We’ve had an AWESOME day! Took the trip out to White Island – which is NZ most active volcano. The boat trip is an hour and a half – the water is rough and both John & I get sick. The guide soothingly assures me that lots of people get nervous and sick before arriving at the volcano. I’m not nervous – I’m sea sick – I just want off the bloody boat and onto dry land – volcanic or not. Eventually get there and have to don hard hats and gas masks, then take the dinghy over to White Island. This place is amazing! The closest description I can give is that I feel vaguely as though I’m in the middle of a science fiction movie – setting foot on an outlying planet – protecting our team from invasion by malicious aliens – you get the drift. The volcanic rock is soft and crumbly underfoot and the colours are beautiful. I can’t do them justice in my photos – most of the members of Red Gate’s photo club would weep if they could see this. Everywhere you look there is something incredible – belching clouds of gas, bright yellow sulphur, bubbling mud and a crater full of water that is 0.1% acidity level – in other words a good way to get rid of a body! White Island was briefly a mining colony in the early 1900’s and there is a story of a miner who went out one night and the next morning they found no trace of him except his boots! The original story is he committed suicide in the acid bath. The guide on our tour thinks he slipped and lobbed his boots out in an attempt to seek help, but we think differently. As White Island shares some geological similarities with Mars we think the miner was abducted by aliens, leaving his boots behind… We are told that scientists monitoring seismic activity on the island are seeing tremors up to 6 times a day! Our only defence in the event of an eruption is to put on our gas masks and huddle under a rock. Fortunately this didn’t prove necessary. Looking back I think my description is slightly bleak – but actually White Island is an inspiring place and incredibly beautiful. The tour is excellent, lasting about 2 hours with a wealth of information from our guides and we return to the boat happy. Quick swim in the freezing water and then onboard for lunch. Suspect I will be sick again on the homeward journey, but actually I’m fine – we’re with the tide this way and sit at the back of the boat enjoying the sunshine on the water. John’s testimonial to White Island: “it’s worth being sick for!” Have a quiet evening in with pizza and cold sauv blanc – start watching a movie and fall asleep at 8.30pm!