Smoke rises up from the dark, black whole underneath me. Sulfur is stinging in my eyes and my throat. How many meters it’s down; I don’t know. I’m laying flat on my belly. No fences to be seen. No light. The moon was our hope this evening, but clouds are blocking it’s view. I feel the heat of the volcano poring through my shirt. My chest is laying on the edge, my head is beyond it. Looking down in the crater, looking down at …. magma. ‘Resting lava’. Real lava.
2011, only tree years ago, was the last time Telica, as this volcano is called, erupted. And now I’m hanging above it. Looking down in the crater, at the magma chamber, seeing it light up in the dark, pitch dark night. Volcano’s are scary and tempting at the same time. Highly dangerous, but alluring. Unpredictable and ready to strike when you least expect it. Nicaragua is full of them. How many volcano’s there are precisely is something the scientists are still debating about. Some say 28, some say 35. Most of them, lay in line, close to towns like Leon, which was devastated by volcano’s several times. They form a treat for the people living close by, they form a big tourist attraction for people visiting Nicaragua, like Mark and me. We started out this morning walking up Cerro Negro and volcano boarding down. Now we just climbed our second volcano of the day: Telica, because we are on a hunt; looking for magma.
We had a little preview, because for the magma we want it to be as dark as hell. So after climbing up, we rested and waited a while, just below the crater; enjoying a nice meal and watching the sun sink down in the Pacific Ocean, behind Leon.
From there it was a small walk to the edge of the crater. Which is as pure as Nicaragua is: no fences, just a few rangers, walking around here and there. The rest is common sense: lay down on your belly, ‘tiger’ to the edge and look down, but down fall over, because the real way down is the same path as we just came up. Only this time in the dark, helped by the torches we carried up the mountain.