The Weekly Photo Challenge is Gone, But Not Forgotten.
Sometimes, I forget that there is an active volcano in our backyard. Today, Concepcion is covered with clouds…gone, but not forgotten.
“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”
― Charles Dickens
The Weekly Photo Challenge is Grand… a magical, special place…the “wow” factor. After a long stressful trip back to the states, returning to my special island in the middle of a sweet sea, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America is a grand homecoming.
Boarding the ferry for the hour-long trip across the sweet sea, I peek at our active volcano, Concepcion, about 10 miles away.
Ometepe…how I’ve missed you! I zoom in for a grand view.
My island home! How majestic! How grand!
The waves splash against the ferry window, blanketing me with a warm breeze. How refreshingly grand!
The clouds over Concepcion paint a grand vista.
Only 30 more minutes! I’m so excited. It’s a grand, magical island.
Is the airport near our house open yet? I’m anxiously awaiting the grand opening.
The little launcha chugs past our house. Isn’t she grand?
“Almost home,” I shout excitedly as we pass our house.
Life on Ometepe Island is priceless! What a grand homecoming!
The Great Escape? Thanks to a comment on my blog by Frizztext, I have to add another Weekly Photo Challenge to my interpretation of escape.
You see, we have an active volcano in our backyard. Ruta de Evacuacion signs are posted all over the island in case Vulcan Concepcion decides to wake up from her three-year hibernation. Yes! You heard right! It’s only been three years since she erupted. These evacuation signs are hysterical. They are posted in every business, along the roads, and even in the cattle fields.
Ron and I are ready, though! We figure that we can kayak off the island until the coast is clear. When Concepcion erupts, she burps ash. It’s scattered like a thin dusting of dirty snow over everything. The great escape? We’re prepared!
March 8th, 2010 started like every other day in Moyogalpa. The symphony of roosters ushered in the day, the March winds howled, and early risers hawked their tortillas throughout the streets. Yet, the beginning of a tranquil, sun drenched day turned dark and ominous when Vulcan Concepcion rumbled, then explosively burped ash and gas plumes 2,100 meters high into the hot, dry, blue sky. Powdery ash blanketed nearby communities like baby powder sprinkled on a new-born.
On subsequent days, the volcano gained momentum. On March 12, Washington VAAC, issued a volcanic ash advisory reporting an ash cloud eruption that reached 10,000 ft. By the middle of March, the Nicaraguan geological service INETER described Concepcion as ” practically in a full eruptive stage”, with 34 explosions between March 18-19.
The Nicaraguan government sent army and navy units to Ometepe Island to prepare for evacuation. Yet, strangely, the locals went about their days hawking tortillas, as if this were an everyday occurrence. They swept the ash from their doorsteps with their twig brooms, and waited patiently for the throngs of soldiers to exit their beloved island.
Did they know something we didn’t? Shortly after all the fuss, feeding an army of disaster responders, and stuffing their bellies with homemade tortillas, Concepcion decided enough was enough. Her attention seeking activity had been rewarded, and she lulled herself back into a peaceful slumber. Until the next time!
Vulcan Concepcion is a highly active volcano with a rich historical record of explosive eruptions. The Global Volcanism Program reports a series of 22 eruptions ( mostly ash and gas), since 1974. See report here.
Several Nicaraguan websites promoting tourism mention, “The Concepcion is an active volcano and its most recent eruption took place in 1957.” It’s true that the islanders confirm, “No need to panic. These minor eruptions happen all the time.” Daily life continues uninterrupted, with only a few minor inconveniences, like sweeping the powdery ash from their doorsteps.
Am I worried? I’m not obsessed with the anticipation of the next eruption. I have my twig broom ready, a few heavy-duty surgical masks to place over our mouths and noses, and a kayak to make a quick escape, (hopefully before we succumb to deadly gases). What more can I do?
Life goes on as normal. I continue to rake mangoes, harvest fruit, and enjoy a fulfilled and stress-free life on Ometepe Island. Until the next time!
Cory is able to climb rocks and volcanoes, but I prefer to take pictures instead. Sometimes, I go days without seeing the active volcano Concepcion, which is hiding behind some large trees in our backyard. But, when I do see her magmatic peak, I am in awe of her beauty, power, and alluring presence.
Ometepe’s enormous volcano breasts jut from her water-bed exposing her magnificent build. But, in her unassuming way, her peaks are modestly blanketed with puffy clouds of white. Occasionally, when she is in an amorous mood, the wind entices her into a strip tease. If lucky tourists catch sight of this fleeting show, they are drawn to stay longer in anticipation of an encore performance.
Vulcan Concepcion has a thousand faces. One might say that she’s schizophrenic. I have a thousand photos of her constantly changing faces, but here are a few of my favorites.