By Greg Watt avid traveller and author of travel websites and blogs. Read Greg's thoughts on Vanuatu Travel at www.vanuatutraveller.com & on 'Real Travel', travelling, and World Destinations at www.traveller-info.com

Tanna - Adventures, a Travel Experience

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Tanna Adventures - Volcano Activity Guide.

Make sure you are informed about how active Mt Yasur is.


G01VANUATU GOVERNMWENT GEOHAZARDS WEBSITE - ALERT LEVEL SYSTEM.

The alert level for Mt Yasur is updated on the Vanuatu Government Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory Website http://www.geohazards.gov.vu, and you undertake where possible to familiarise yourself with both the alert level and what that means for travellers wanting to see the Volcano. Specifically,


L1
Normal low-level activity.


L2
Increased activity, danger near crater only.


L3
Moderate eruptions, danger close to the volcanic vent.


L4
Very large eruption, island-wide danger.
These levels provide you with up to date information on what you are likely to expect during your time on the Volcano. Despite this you understand and accept that conditions on any volcano are unpredictable and may change suddenly at any time.


There is often wide confusion in regard to the activity levels for Mt Yasur Volcano. Officially the levels are set by Geohazards and notified on their own website, along with the Vanuatu weather website www.meteo.gov.vu which will lead you to the hazards page.

Officially, you are unlikely to be able to get near the Volcano if there is a Level 4 alert, and you will be kept at a distance from the volcano if there is a level 3 alert. For Level 2 it will be up to the Volcano Guides who Manage and Administer visitors to the Volcano, how close you are able to go. Depending on the circumstances, if magma is being thrown over the rim (rare), you may be limited to the carpark, if it it is hurling at at the upper interior sides of the volcano, you may be limited to the first flat viewing area (which is slightly away from the rim). For Level 0 and Level 1 alerts you will likely be allowed on the rim ( two different arms), giving you views directly down into the Volcano vents.

In all cases your viewing will likely be spectacular and appropriate to possible safety concerns.


G02LOCAL INTERPRETATION OF VOLCANO ALERT SYSTEM MAY BE DIFFERENT.

There is always a number of different angles to looking at something. Many local operators will use a different interpretation system, as anyone who is going to see the mountain wants it to be spectacular, and not a let down. Consequently, operators may use level level 2 instead of level 1, and level 3 when in fact it is level 2, so intending visitors get the impression that they will be going to a good fireworks display.

The reality, is that it is virtually impossible to ring the Volcano Guides to see what is going on, as communications are incredibly difficult, so you will really only know by going there. The bottom line is that its not a fireworks display as that implies that there is some degree of human control - this is mother nature and consequently can be totally unpredictable.

All that being said, I don't know anyone who hasn't come away being totally blown away by what they have seen.