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Up, up and away – my amazing Vanuatu Helicopter trip to the top of an active volcano!

October 18, 2014 Global Travel Media TV, Headline News No Comments Email Email

image004The word helicopter just had to be mentioned and I am sure that for many, the words “boys and their toys”, immediately sprung to mind, and I am happy to admit that when Alison Fleming of Vanuatu Helicopters offered me a seat on a trip from Port Vila to the top of the active volcano Ambrym recently, what else could I say but, … YES!

Vanuatu Helicopters offers a range of helicopter services throughout Vanuatu and their experienced pilots run stunning helicopter tours for visitors, including an amazing $99 “Taste of Vila” deal, with if there was ever a landscape ideally suited to air travel, then it has to be the island paradise of Vanuatu, with its hidden tropical sanctuaries, miles of pristine coastline and crystal clear water, spectacular inland rainforests, volcanoes and mountain peaks.

Also, with Vanuatu a popular destination for weddings, Vanuatu Helicopters offers amazing aerial transport of the bride or bridal party and quick access to locations for photos, plus here’s a really nice one, petal drops from the air.

image007Operating Robinson R44 and Robinson R66 helicopters, Vanuatu Helicopters’ can pick you up at the airport and take you to your resort or after your relaxing Vanuatu break take you back to the airport, they can collect you from your resort for a stunning Vanuatu helicopter tour or you can join a tour from their pontoon base in Port Vila harbour.   All flights are subject to carrying a minimum of two passengers and if you want to give someone the best gift ever, gift vouchers are available.

So, back to my trip to Ambrym!

The Vanuatu Helicopters’ Ambrym tour takes around 3 hours in total, with around 2 hours of flying time and we took off from Vanuatu Helicopters’ floating pontoon in Port Vila harbour, passing the remote tropical islands of Emai, Epi, Makura, Paama and the stunning Cooks Reef, with my Vanuatu Helicopters trip stunning all the way to Ambrym.

As we approached Ambrym though, we could see that the caldera was swathed in cloud and smoke, but our skilled pilot Andy Martin was determined to ensure that we managed to get safely to the top of Ambrym and we did, approach through clear patch in the clouds, following some white markers, and landing safely on the crater edge.

Ambrym is a very active volcano indeed, named Ambrym by Captain Cook, who anchored off the island in 1774, with Ambrym said to mean “here are yams”, “ham rim” in the Ranon language.

image010With two active cones, Marum and Benbow, old lava fields and the vastness of the caldera covering 100 square kilometres, andwhile clouds swirled around us, creating a surreal environment and the strong smell of I assume sulphur, this was without doubt an unique experience as we felt the power and heat and heard the roar from the continuously boiling ‘lava lake’, said to be around 400 meters below us, just visible through the smoke and cloud, with walking on the surface giving a feeling of what it must be like to walk on the moon, with not a plant or living creature in sight, just black earth, stunning rocky formations and mist creating a very outer-world experience.

Ambrym is one of the only places in the world you can do this, looking straight into the heart of the earth, made all the more comfortable and safe in that Andy clipped our safety harnesses on to cables that were securely clipped to long pegs he had hammered into the ground.

Although Ambrym is in a state of constant activity, its last major eruption was over a thousand years ago, when it is claimed to have ejected 25 cubic kilometres of earth into the atmosphere with today, on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, it is rated around 0-1, the lowest of 8 volcano ratings,  and while Ambrym still releases a lot of smoke, some ash and the occasional rock or two it is generally safe to be visited, in recent years also oozing a slow lava flow from within the caldera.

Our time on amazing Ambrym drew to close and it was time to leave, with Andy making sure that visibility through the smoke and cloud was OK and we lifted off, emerging through the smoke and cloud to fly over endless stunning, lush, tropical rain forest covered islands with white sandy beaches and large coral reefs and even get the chance to spot a pod of whales, dolphins or dugongs and of course turtles, to land calmly and rather serenely at The Havannah Resort for lunch.

Without doubt that was one of the best experience in my travel life and one I heartily recommend, so a very sincere thank you to Vanuatu Helicopters, Andy and Alison – just awesome and to join me on my visit to Ambrym all you have to do is click on the video box below: –

For more information on Vanuatu Helicopters’ amazing tours visit www.vanautuhelicopters.com

Look out for the questions in our “Win a trip for two to Vanuatu with Air Vanuatu, Vanuatu Tourism” and our top Vanuatu tourism partners!

A report by John Alwyn Jones – Global Travel Media and Global Travel Media TV reporting on location from Tok Tok 2014 and Vanuatu, brought to you by Air Vanuatu and Vanuatu Tourism.

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