by John Yeo
It was the swinging sixties everything was possible, life was exciting and definitely for living. James, Ruth, and Marg, were inseparable, they got through college together, gaining very high grades. The three friends were from the suburbs of London, the area in Surrey known as the Stockbroker belt. All three friends had the same interests and had unanimously decided to study geology at University.
It was Marg’s idea to take a gap year first, Marg had no trouble persuading her Father to fund her adventure. Marg had always been Daddy's little girl.
“Dad, I want to go to Costa Rica to see the volcanic crater Iratsu, to give me a basic knowledge before I study to become a volcanologist.”
“Will you be going alone?” asked her father cautiously.
“No Dad, I hope not, Ruth is asking her parents, and James is certain to be going. I am sure he will, He has a substantial allowance and he will be paying his own way.”
“I have no objections, if you are all going together.” said her father.
Six months later found the three friends staying in a hotel in San Jose, just 24 kilometres from the volcano, they had purchased camping equipment and began trekking through the stunning rainforest towards their goal. The green cultivated fields leading to the rim of the crater were a beautiful fertile introduction to the stunning beauty that was to come. When they reached their goal the beauty was mind blowing.
Ruth was stunned, “Look at the pool in the crater and the vegetation!”
There was an ominous rumble, almost on cue. “Wow!” exclaimed James. ”I wonder if we are going to witness an eruption? That hotel manager did warn us that the volcano has been rumbling lately!”
Ruth was warily dismissive when she replied, “ Yes! He also said there have been rumbles for quite some time.”
There followed another rumble from the depths of the crater and a distinct tremor, as the three friends took in the astonishing beauty of this volcanic crater.
Marg then broke in and said. “I think we had better get away from here fast. Let’s head back to San Jose! I have an idea we should be somewhere safe for the time being.”
Another rumble and a tremor sent the friends packing up fast and heading towards one of the farms on the rim of the crater.
A surprised farmer, who didn’t speak English, was persuaded to give the three friends a lift into the city, after accepting a wad of money.
“I always knew money talked.” James said, grinning all over his face as they sat on the back of a battered truck, that found every bump on the road.
A couple of days later there was a series of huge explosions that hurled out much ash, rocks, and debris, but the activity soon settled down to alternating periods of explosive eruptions and a quiet emission of steam. Ash was deposited mostly along an area that extended westward from the summit to and beyond the city of San Jose, 24 km away. The prolonged ash-fall severely damaged dairy, vegetable, and coffee farms, and for a while made daily life in the city extremely difficult.
There was a telegram summoning Marg home immediately, from her father, who had been following their progress from the beginning, using the limited information released by the media.
A year later the friends were studying together at University, relating their experiences to all their new interested friends, fellow students and lecturers.
Ten years after, James and Ruth, now married, visited Iratsu again. The wind and volcanic activity conspired to give the effect of a moonscape. There were several craters rimmed by gnarled, scorched trees, lined with brilliantly colored rain-fed mineral pools. The area surrounding its four craters was barren and rocky, a result of its last eruptive cycle.
They were stunned at the realisation they had been present, almost on the day the crater woke up.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.