Gear for the Fearless

volcano diving
Volcano Diving with George Kourounis and Sam Cossman
Posted by: Koa Gear    2015-02-16 16:23:47

According to Sam Cossman’s website “More people have visited the moon than the firey depths of Marum Crater on the remote island of Ambrym, Vanuatu”.

Paradigm shifts happen. Just when you think you’ve seen it all you encounter something so breathtaking and thought-provoking that a pause for reflection is necessary. Such was the case for me near the end of this video.

Watching George Kourounis observe massive swells of churning lava in the final frames of this video is like watching an action figure about to be swallowed by a tsunami. It’s hard to process the sight of a human in such close proximity to forces so turbulent, dangerous and unpredictable.

Even George admits it looks unreal — like something out of a movie.

George is the guy you see in the shiny aluminum heat suit. He and fellow adventurer, Sam Cossman, filmed the adventure. At one point George Tweeted that it was so hot his camera started to melt. He guessed the hottest parts were over 1,500º degrees but other sources say the temperature can reach 2,200º degrees Fahrenheit.

Lava wasn’t the only threat in the Marum Crater. Falling rocks and the possibility of a huge rockslide were ever-present dangers. Toxic sulfur dioxide gas in the crater required George and Sam to wear gas masks. During their excursion gas in the crater mixed with raindrops to create a corrosive acid rain that destroyed George’s heat suit. At one point George broke the pull-cord on his motorized rope ascender, a gasoline-powered device he used to speed his ascent. Fortunately his rope ascender had started on the first try.

Millions of people are watching this video. Will droves of thrill-seekers suddenly flock to Marum Crater to take their chances? Will Ambrym, Vanuatu become like a Walmart parking lot for heat-seeking adventurers? Admittedly, part of me wants to experience the firey swells of Marum Crater first-hand—at close range. Another part of me thinks I would be safer trying to outrun trains.