kavachi submarine volcano
Towering 1200 metres above the ocean floor 20 nautical miles to the southwest of the wilderness lodge lies Kavachi, one of the world's few active and visible undersea volcanos. Named after a mythical sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi has been erupting on a regular (though thoroughly unpredictable) basis for many years including several temporary island-building events, and has a long history of eruption and temporary island-building. During eruption phases the volcano is throwing ash and projectiles up to 1000 metres into the air and the fiery glow can be seen at night from the weather coast of Gatokae, some 30km distant. Between eruption phases the vent produces a vigorous surface upwelling of mud, sulfur, rock fragments and gas bubbles. The lodge has a comprehensive file of information, photos and history.
We visit Kavachi regularly (weather-permitting) to monitor activity, fish and freedive the vent which teems with pelagic fish. Sitting in the boat 100 metres from the vent during eruption, the source of the volcano's traditional name - Rejo te Kavachi (Kavachi's oven) - is abundantly clear with the radiated heat uncomfortable on the face and the occasional wayward projectile requiring evasive action. Not all visits need be so adventurous though - in fine weather the 90 minute trip gives spectacular views of Gatokae and Vangunu, and Kavachi is still an awesome experience from a safer distance of 200 metres.