|We heard that no one on the island of Ambrym swam because the water is full of
sharks. But we were hot and sweaty, so we decided to take a swim anyway. We walked
down the black volcanic-sand beach, stripped off our clothes, and hit the water. It
was great! The water is black, and when you float on your back your chest and
stomach get covered with grains of volcanic ash. We probably spent an hour in the
water, and nobody was eaten by a shark.
||The first night we went on the top of the volcano was a bad one for me. I went to bed
terrified, knowing that the next morning I was going in. All night long I could hear
the volcano rumbling. Fortunately the unknown was much worse than the reality, but
you just never know. I lay in bed that night thinking that tomorrow I could die.
||Sulfur and chlorine gases pour out of these vents all the time. Mixed with the rainy
climate, the gases form hydrochloric acid and hydrosulfuric acid. Theyre very
corrosive. The first day the TV crew lost seven cameras from exposure to the air.
Franck Tessier, one of the expedition members, wrapped everything
metalincluding his watchin saran wrap to protect them from corrosion. The
acid even ate my eyeglasses. But because this relatively strong acid is flying around
in the form of rain, you get really clean. It eats the top layer off your skin.