Hotter than hot!
Captain log: September 19th 2021
Location: Canary Islands, Tenerife
The islands are shaken up by the sudden eruption of the Vulcano Cumbre Vieja, located on La Palma
Although forecasted by the increasing underground trembling, the eruption always comes by surprise and
so at 14h10, the old vulcano opened up and with a big bang, the red hot lava came to the surface and
started making its way towards the ocean, flowing over the side of the vulcano.
At first, these kinds of events always create a lot of panic, fear and anxiety. Houses are getting
demolished by the unpredictable path of the lava, people need to be evacuated as the lava continues its
path down the mountain, slow but steady!
Smoke, ashes and ash clouds darken the sky and soon the surrounding islands become also part of the
story as the ashes go sky high and next, drop down on the neighbouring islands like Tenerife, where the
SY Blowing Bubbles is anchored!
A vulcano eruption, not an average daily event in a man’s lifetime!!
So, after a few days of getting used to the event, the news, the ‘trying to control’ what the vulcano decides
to do, the island authorities decided that people could come back to the island and even tourism would be
allowed again, although with restrictions towards how close a person could get towards the danger zone!
Visiting an active vulcano, you say?? What? Would you do that or leave it aside??
Well, onboard Blowing Bubbles, we love, no even better, we are always ready for some adventure and so
yes, we were ready to go to La Palma and see for ourselves how hot the Cumbre Vieja has become!
Just 55miles away from Tenerife, it is just a quick trip over there and so, the idea was set, now towards
As by coincedance, a former colleague of Karen, was visiting La Palma as we speak and guess what, his
specialty is…vulcanoes…. With over 40years of travelling around the world, visiting every vulcano in the
world (both sleeping and active vulcanoes), he would be our perfect guide during our planned quick visit!
Thanks to internet, a date was quickly set for the next day and off we were, towards La Palma.
Upon arriving in the port of La Palma, Ludo Van Goethem was already waiting for us at the jetty and
welcomed us with a big smile! It had been 11years since he had seen Karen but time had not taken a hold
on Ludo, looking sharp and in shape, Ludo was ready for some vulcano time with us!
With a rental car, we took for the surrounding mountains, seeking the highest grounds, to get a clear view
of the island and to get a view down on the active part of the Cumbre Vieja.
With the necessary 400+ curves in the road, Ludo proved the be an excellent and experienced mountain
road driver, taken us safely through the mountain passages and showing us the best spots on La Palma.
As the day continued, combining our island tour with some small excursions on foot, we got closer and
closer towards the active part of the vulcano and by sunset, the sky started colouring orange, not from the
magical sunsets you can experience on these islands, but from the hot lava pouring out of the 3 vents (or
holes) on the side of the Cumbre Vieja.
As the sky darkened from the disappearing sun, the more orange and red the night became from the
reflecting light of the lava!
A complete natural disaster, older than mankind, as active as you can imagin, was having its way in front of
Imagine the trembling of the ground, the hissing sounds of the fumes and vapor going skyhigh, the
continious explosions of the pressure build up within the vents and add to this the smell of sulfur, some
black ashes dwelling down on you and believe me, this is way better than any 4D-movie you will even be
able to watch!
Hours and hours we could stand there, at a safe distance of about 3km from the active vents and look at
the lava pouring out of the mountain and flowing down towards the ocean.
When lava (at a temperature of over 4000°C) reaches the ocean, interesting things start happening as
superhot lava gets very, very quickly cooled by the endless amounts of ocean water!
During our last months of sailing and diving throughout the canary Islands, we already had a lot of
experience observing the lava structures underwater during the many scuba dives we have done with our
guests. These structures were made 10000 years and more ago.
Now, we could witness a live version of this, realtime, happening in front of our eyes!
Something that people will still talk about in the 100’s or 1000’s of years to come!
The vulcano is predicted to stay active over the next months to come and so, while reading this, you could
actually decide to contact us and come over here and see it in realtime yourself! Would that be an ultimate
result of reading these articles and even better, reading about it and acting upon it?
Our nighty time on the side of Cumbre Vieja was coming to an end and with an empty stomach, it was
time to get a late dinner and fill our bodies with some incredible food that these islands have to offer.
Tapas are small dishes that are being served in small portions, so you can have plenty of different choices
and share them with your table companions, combined with some fine lava-wine and you are all set for a
great evening, spoiling your taste sensors all around mouth and nose! A very nice way to finish a day
filled with sulfur smells on a trembling soil and indeed a great way to thank our fantastic vulcano expert
Ludo, to have taken us on this incredible tour!
What is next?? Well guess? The new NAUI active vulcano lava dive specialty?
I will promise you one thing: It will be hotter then hot, so leave the wetsuit at home!
We welcome you onboard SY Blowing Bubbles to join in on the adventures we undertake!