“Do I have a fetish for fire and volcanoes?” Throughout my years on this planet, I have often asked myself this question. You might think this is a bit of an odd question to ask, and quite frankly, you’d be right. But I am really beginning to think I do have some kind of fetish for fire, or at least volcanoes.

Why would I think that? Well, there are a couple of reasons, such as:

1. I always inadvertently end up setting fire to things. It’s almost like my whole being is designed to set fire to food, paper, candles, homes, you name it. In fact, I very nearly set fire to our rented house during the first week of moving here! Now, before you start worrying, I’m not some crazy arsonist or pyrotechnic. I’m just clumsy. But this could be nature’s way of saying: “Justine: you are one crazy mad ass fire fetisher!” or some such nonsense.

2. When travelling, volcanoes and fire attract me. The thought of seeing a volcano up close, some volcanic ash on the ground or a glowing fiery mass of a volcano in the distance is enough to get me super excited and dancing about like some crazy mad ass fire nymph.

Right, just looking at this bulleted list for a second, I’m instantly thinking: a) I’m a crazy mad ass, and b) maybe I really do have a fire or volcano fetish of some such description. And you know what? Being a strong-willed, fabulous woman (or so I like to think); I’m going to embrace this, and discuss all of the cool, steamy and fiery volcanoes I’ve seen throughout the world.

Kīlauea Iki Crater, Volcano National Park, The Big Island, Hawaii

Whilst exploring the Volcano National Park on The Big Island of Hawaii, it was only fitting that we walk through an active volcanic crater. How many other people can truly say they’ve done that in a lifetime?

Hawaii Volcanic Crater

Kīlauea Iki Crater is incredible in size. I really can’t describe just how big it is. What I will say though is that walking at a normal pace for an hour didn’t even get us to the middle of the crater! But it was a super cool place to find ourselves wandering through.

Throughout the crater are large cracks in the rock, through which steam pours itself out into the atmosphere. This is the “active” part – that steam is genuinely coming from lava underneath the ground! What I found most extraordinary though, were the flowers growing in those steamy cracks. Tall bushes full of fiery red and pure white flowers were erupting from the cracks all around us, proving that nature will always find a way to survive even in tough conditions.

Hawaii Volcanic Crater Flowers

If you also fancy hiking through an active crater, then this guide is pretty good for detailing how to get there and where to walk.

Kīlauea Volcano, The Big Island of Hawaii

After exploring the crater, it was time to see a volcano in all of its fiery splendour. This particular volcano is very popular in Hawaii as it often shows a lava glow display in the dark. From a distance, you can just see the blood orange red lava, with the smoky mist dancing overhead. This is perfect to see from the Visitor Centre itself.

And if you’re blessed with fantastic eyesight and/or an awesome camera, then zooming in on the lava will show just how much it is dancing within the ground! You may even be lucky enough to spot a few spurts of lava jetting out like fireflies in the night sky.

Fire Fetish: Hawaii Volcano

Porto Moniz, Madeira

When lava cools, volcanic rock is formed. In fact, the islands of Hawaii are actually just great big masses of volcanic rock meshed together to form islands! And they’re not the only islands to have been made thanks to volcanoes.

The island of Madeira, nestled sweetly near to the North Western side of Africa, is another island made from volcanic rock. And one of the best places to see this is in Porto Moniz, along the Northern side of the island.

Madeira Porto Moniz

From here, you can bathe and swim in volcanic rock pools. These are perfect formations made from the uneven spreading of the volcanic rock, which are filled with fresh sea water. These pools are very popular with locals and tourists alike, and only cost a couple of Euros to dip your feet or swim in.

And in fairness, even just a walk around the town of Porto Moniz itself will show you yet more formations carved from volcanic rock, such as these caves you can walk through and explore.

Madeira Porto Moniz Volcano Caves

Sólheimasandur Black Sand Beach, Iceland

Iceland is one of the most famous places with which to see black sand beaches, also known as volcanic ash beaches. Because that’s all that the black sand is really – just glorified volcanic ash. Most travellers head to the beaches in Vik, where you can also spot rock formations similar to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, but there is another black sand beach that should be on your must-see list in Iceland as well.

Sólheimasandur beach is a vast black sand beach, and is such an incredible landscape to marvel at. From the black waves that the sand has created on the ground, to the stormy seas behind you, to the snow-topped mountains in the distance, this beach will have you spellbound. But these aren’t the only things to see here.

This beach is also home to a plane crash from the 1970s, which has surprisingly become a bit of a tourist trap now. Personally, we had no idea the plane was here – we thought we were just here to marvel at black sand, so it was a pretty cool surprise. You are free to photograph the plane as well as explore inside it – how’s that for a fun, free day out?

Crashed planed in Sólheimasandur, Iceland

My fiancee never knew this about me – the fact that I have a bit of a fetish for volcanoes and fire. But what I find incredible is that this black sand beach was where he decided to propose to me. Let’s ignore the emblem of the plane crash for a minute, and instead focus on the beautiful poetry of the moment. Here is a woman who loves fire and volcanoes, with the man of her dreams asking her to marry him, standing upon black sand made from volcanoes. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

So, I ask you: where else can I fulfil my fire and volcano fetishes? And do you have any fetishes of your own like this? Let me know in the comments…
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18 thoughts on “A Traveller’s Fetish For Fire And Volcanoes

  1. Right! I’ve never been to a volcano – a real-life, fire-breathing volcano anyway; volcanoes that have been dead since geological times don’t count (sorry Edinburgh!).

    There are, however, four on my list – two actual volcanoes and two regions with at least one that would be cool to climb. The two specific examples on my list are:
    * Nyiragongo, in DRCongo. Partly because it sounds like an epic adventure, and partly so I can tell people that I’ve been to the “mystical” Congo. Sometimes I can be like that …
    * Mount Tambora in Indonesia – the historic volcano that erupted in 1815, caused really bad weather in Europe for the following two years, and as a result led to the writing of the novel ‘Frankenstein’ !!

    I’d also like to explore Vanuatu and Nicaragua/El Salvador/Guatemala; both regions have a number of quite good climbs and the countries themselves interest me regardless. 🙂

    [my ultimate would be to visit Montserrat -> half the island is now a no-go zone because of a recent eruption and one of my fetishes is for that sort of ‘dark history’).

    1. Edinburgh has volcanoes? Albeit dead ones, but still, I never knew that! You really do learn something new everyday!!
      Wow! Those volcanoes sound awesome to visit… and with such cool stories behind them, especially the Frankenstein thing. Damn, now MY bucket list has grown!! *frantically starts researching said volcanoes*
      Thanks for sharing your own fetish with me! I’m totally on the same page as you with that whole ‘dark history’ kind of thing! 😀

  2. tashasoyster says:

    I’m also quite a sucker for volcanoes though I’m sad to say I haven’t seen as many as I’d have liked yet. Both volcanoes in Hawaii look incredible. I can’t believe you walked through an active volcano crate! I’d love to do this. And the glow against the night sky from the other volcano there… that must have been mesmerising.

    1. It really was mesmerising!! To date, Hawaii has been my most favourite place to visit… being able to see the volcanoes only a small part of that. I hope you’ll tick off some more volcanoes on your travels soon! 🙂

  3. I am actually quite scared of fire but volcanoes have always reallly interested me. It’s as if small things like lighting the cooker terrifies me, I can’t get my hand close enough. But Lava! It’s almost as if it’s so massive and powerful that I’m just amazed by it! I’d love to see an active volcanoe one day! That must have been so cool!

    1. Oh really? Wow, that’s really interesting – how small fires are more intimidating for you versus volcanoes!! I hope you do get to see an active volcano some day too: it really was incredible to see!

  4. Sally says:

    Love this! Incredible photos! I’ve yet to go to Hawaii, but it looks so cool- or hot in this case, lol. I did climb Nea Kameni- Santorini’s volcano in Greece, though. You can take a boat from the main island there- no fire though, but sulfur smells like rotten eggs around the fissure. One for your list?

    1. Woo! Thanks Sally – I appreciate the compliment! 😉
      Hmm… the smell of rotting eggs, ha, that sounds, err lovely? Seriously though, I would love to go to Greece – one day!!

  5. Becky says:

    Wow looks amazing, was it scary? How long did it take to explore?

    1. It really was amazing!! Not scary at all to be honest. We’d gone there as part of a day tour of the Volcano National Park, so as we were acting under supervised advice, we knew it would be okay. The crater hike itself would easily take several hours to see the whole thing. Sadly, we only had about 90 mins ourselves!

  6. Nerissa says:

    Such a great post, so informative! I have never done a hike to see active or even non active volcanoes for that matter but I really want too!! This is super helpful in helping me choose where to go. I hear Hawaii calling me 🙂

    1. I’m glad you liked it Nerissa! Ooh yes, Hawaii is most definitely an awesome option…. I would so love to go back!

  7. Alyssa J says:

    I think I might have the same thing as well! Volcanoes fascinates me to no ends. I’ve only been to the dormant ones, and would love to see an active volcano one day! Does it reeks of sulfur when you went though?

    1. Excellent, I’m glad it’s not just me! It actually didn’t smell of sulphur when we hiked through – that might have been because of the hard ground layer above the actual lava though!

  8. So in love with this post! I’ve always been drawn to fire and volcanoes, too! I want to go on one of those hikes where you can get up close to flowing lava and poke it with a stick. (though my boyfriend says we will probably be so mesmerized that we won’t be able to resist the urge to lean in and touch it for real…and then get our entire hands melted off…hahaha). Love your pictures! And I had no idea there was a plane wreck on Iceland’s black sand beach either!! That beach has been on my bucket list for a year or more, and in all that time, I’d never heard about the plane. So cool!

    1. Thanks so much Jillian! I’m so pleased you liked this post so much. I would absolutely love to poke lava with a stick or something too! I hope you get out to the beach in Iceland soon! 🙂

  9. C-Ludik says:

    Love your pictures 🙂 ! I would like to go on one of those hikes where you can get up close to flowing lava and poke it with a stick. It looks really amazing ! Hawaii is a far destination for me (living in Europe) but maybe one day 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! Looks like a few of us have something in common with the wanting to poke lava with a stick! 😉
      I’m also living in Europe (England to be exact), so Hawaii was a bit of a trek for us too. We stopped over in LA on the way there, and San Francisco on the way back…. so it ended up being a lovely little travel triangle! Would highly recommend that! <3

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