A volcanic experience

The time between the years we spent on the island of Fogo. Once, the whole island was a giant volcano, so everything is volcanic material. For our geography teacher it was a paradise because she could show us many things that we learnt in our lessons in real life. Looking forward to our geography test, that we wrote at the end of our time on Fogo, it was a very good help for preparing us.

We started our trip on the 26th of December after we had spent Christmas on our ship. We were brought into the harbour by our two little boats together with our bag packs and the other stuff we needed over the five days. At the pier we had time to call our family and friends for wishing them a merry Christmas.

After that we got in the trucks and busses. We started our journey to the old giant krater of the former mega-volcano where we spent four out of five days. On our way we often stopped to look at special landmarks which mostly had to do something with volcanos. Mustafa (our guide) and our teacher Judith always explained us everything we saw and answered our questions.

After a 1 h drive we reached Casa Marisa. It belongs to Mustafa who had to re-built it after there was a volcano eruption in 2014. It’s now on top of a giant lava field on the same place as before. The floor in every room and outside is always warm so at night when it can get very cold you always have warm feet. The rest of the day we spent exploring the location, the lava field and the near by village. In the evening some of us started to prepare our test.

The next morning, we got up very early at 5am, because we wanted to start our hike onto the Pico do Fogo at 6am to avoid the hot sun. The Pico do Fogo is a giant volcano krater that erupted the last time in 1680. It’s about 1000m high but we were very motivated to manage it together. After some struggle we reached the top and it was an incredible feeling. There was a fantastic view over the whole island but the highlight of the tour was still waiting for us. Because when we started going down again we came to a side of the krater which was covered with ash and little stones. When you stepped in there you slid down up to 2 m. And if you start to run, like we did, it’s a little bit like skiing. It was crazy and one of the coolest things I’ve ever did. Back at Casa Marisa we had free time and, in the evening, we were at the birthday-party of Mustafa. Some of his friends made music with traditional instruments and we all danced together. It was so much fun and it was a beautiful way to end this special day.

On Tuesday we had a workshop with a man from the village who showed us how to make figures out of lava-stone. In the afternoon the group was divided, some went climbing at the krater wall and the rest visited a lava cave. Both groups had much fun and when we met again in the evening there was much to tell the others about.

The next day was started by a solo, something we did also at La Gomera. During a solo everyone looks for a place where they are alone and can use the time thinking for example about themselves or their goals. It’s always very relaxing and beautiful, because you often can’t find time for yourself and so you have the possibility to get your head free. After the solo which took 1,5h we got on to the trucks and drove to a place where we had spotted very bad environment pollution with plastic and other garbage. Together with Mustafa we had decided to clean up there and even though there was much to do. We had fun and it was a good feeling to see what you can reach together.

The 30th of December was the day we prepared for the whole time, it was the day of our geography test. We wrote it in the restaurant of the Casa Marisa and it was a funny thing to watch our teacher explaining to the other guests that we want to write a school test during their breakfast. After we got that done we started a hike to the place where we wanted to stay for the last night. It was a house with great view over the sea that also belongs to Mustafa. There was even a pool and we slept all together in sleeping bags on the terrace, looking at the beautiful stars.

When we woke up it was hard to realize that it’s the last day of the year. We packed our stuff together and got on to the bus that brought us back to the harbour. We all were a little bit sad that our time on Fogo is over because the last 5 days were so incredibly beautiful but we were also glad to be back. It always feels like coming home when we go back on board of the Thor Heyerdahl.