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Day 5 - Volcanoes and Maoris

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 2 November 2010 | Views [512]

White Island volcano, inside the crater

White Island volcano, inside the crater

We started the morning with breakfast in our room, then a 1.5 hour boat ride out to White Island, New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.  300 meters of the volcano is above sea level, and we took the dinghy ashore and walked around the floor of the crater for about an hour.  We saw lots of activity—fissures emitting sulfurous fumes, pools of sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, bubbling mud pits, and geysers of steam.  Hard helmets were required, gas masks were issued but optional for use.  We got close to some really fun stuff, photos posted on this blog.  For you Facebookers, Anita will post three videos we took from the caldera floor in a couple of days.

 

After we got back to the mainland, we jumped in the car and drove south and inland to Rotorua, the Maori center of activity in New Zealand.  Maoris came to New Zealand about 600 years ago from Samoa, Tahiti, and other Polynesian islands.  They are not related to the aborigines of New Guinea or Australia.  We saw a fun show of dancing and singing in traditional Maori costumes, then ate a pit-cooked meal of lamb, chicken and potatoes, followed by a not-so-traditional chocolate cake log for desert.  We got back to our B&B on the shores of Lake Rotorua about 9:30.  The B&B was beautifully situated at lakeside, run by an older ex-pat British couple that came from the area in Yorkshire that we had walked in September.   It was quite a nice B&B, but unfortunately we rushed in and rushed out and didn’t get to spend as much time there as we would have liked.

 

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