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Revisiting White Island

In 2008 when I start I Must Be Off! I used this photograph of myself. It was taken near the crater on White Island. The air was toxic. Our camera fogged up after this photo, so we don't have many other photos of the island. I just remember everywhere steam from vents, the smell of sulphur, but only the faint feeling that we were doing something dangerous.

Since this photo was taken in 2005, I've done a lot of travelling. And I'm older (you can do the math if you want: monster). Yesterday as we were driving on curvy mountain roads near a dormant volcano on El Hierro in the Canary Islands, I was reminded by Ignatius the Barn Builder's Apprentice how I've become a wary, nervous traveller, expecting danger around every curve (Ignatius the Barn Builder's Apprentice is a poor, easily distracted driver: to explain 'wary' and 'nervous'). I'm not sure I'd have gone to White Island in 2019. To be honest, I probably had no idea what the dangers were in 2005. I know I signed a release form with all of the usual "I understand this is an active volcano and I could die" wording, but I also know that I didn't read the entire form. I never read them. I never thought it could be me.

My heart goes out to the families of the missing people on White Island. I pray they are found.

I must be off,



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