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Situated in the middle of Southeast Asia is Indonesia, an archipelago nation the includes the island of Bali, synonymous with tropical cocktails, private luxury villas, and people with smiles as warm as the temps. There is one thing that can throw a wrench in the enjoyment of all of this paradise, however: a sleeping volcano that awakens.
That's just what happened late last week on the main island of Java, when Mount Kelud woke from its dormancy and began spewing ash, rock, and smoke into the sky. History has proved an issue for air travel when there's any type of ash in the atmosphere, so naturally planes were grounded across the region, even as far south as Australian flights en route to Bali, the Cocos Islands, and Christmas Island.
Oh heck—here we go with another big ash problem. This time it’s some volcanic activity down in Mexico that’s creating the problems, as Popocatepetl is the one messing up the atmosphere this time. This sucker is kind of half way between spots like Mexico City and Puebla, so if you have flights in or out of the area just be aware.
The delays and cancellations were all over the place last week, as carriers like Delta, United, American Airlines, and US Airways all had to mess with their schedules to accommodate the stuff up in the skies. At one point there were around 40 flights cancelled on just one day, so Popocatepetl is certainly less than friendly.
In case you missed it, over the weekend there was explosion over in Cleveland—but don’t worry—it wasn’t that Cleveland.
Apparently it’s time again for the annual volcanic eruption, and that means potential disruption to air travel. This time the ash and smoke is doing its thing up in Alaska, as the Cleveland volcano is getting a little cranky.
In case you want to know where to look for the troublemaker on the map, this volcano is roughly 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, stuck on Chuginadak Island within the Aleutian chain of islands.
We live in a travel world where, for better or worse, Jaunted maintains categories for volcanoes and for volcano travel, to say nothing of our originally lighthearted but eventually kind of depressing big ash problems tag. Every January we wait the first eruption-driven airline cancellations of year. On particularly bad years we've even been known to slip into theological spculation about which gods exactly travelers pissed off.
Aside from angering volcano deities, there are also more mundane explanations for why travelers, every year, get stuck in airports because of volcanoes. A lot of those reasons have as much to do with badly planned and implemented safety regulations as they do with actual eruptions. But as those bad regulations get get fixed and as new technology comes online, we're getting to the point where we just have to admit that sometimes volcanoes erupt, and sometimes that delays air travel, and sometimes there's nothing anyone can do about it.
We've said it before so just in case you didn't hear it the first time, when flying to a new destination if you can snag a window seat, do it. Your family and friends will thank you when they're forced to flip through countless photos on your Facebook page.
This particular flight takes us over the dead center of Australia and onto the vast volcanic archipelago of Indonesia.
As soon as one set of small islands would pass our viewfinder, our journey brought us to the next unique grouping of islands, all looking more and more tropical as we neared the equator.
Costa Rica Travel / Nature Travel / Road Trips / Volcanoes / Kai MacMahon / Adventure Travel / Science Travel / → All Tags
You know Kai. Last week he detailed how he made his surfing adventure happen. Today, he drops some intel on the famous Arenal volcano in Costa Rica...
Volcanoes are coolgiant mountain things with a hole that goes to the bottom of the earth, full of boiling hot lava and belching smoke and soot into the air. There's something very prehistoric and intimidating about them. Oh, and every now and then they explode and turn lethal. Both cool and a bit scary then.
My typical vacations are usually by the water (not many volcanos there) or at ski hills (likewise), so I'd never had the opportunity to see a volcano up close and personal. Then, on my recent surf trip to Costa Rica, I decided to take a couple of days away from the water and go check out the volcano Arenal, one of the ten most active in the world. It last erupted as recently as 1968, when it destroyed three small villages, killing 87 people in the process. Arenal is the real deal; it's most definitely not a Disney volcano.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Travel News / Weather / Alaska Travel / → All Tags
As you know we’re still in the first week of the new year, but there’s already a brand new volcano—complete with ash-cloud potential—getting ready to wreak havoc on air travel. Unlike the volcanoes over in Europe or down in South America, this one’s a little closer to home, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to pronounce.
Mount Cleveland—just rolls off the tongue—is located within the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, and scientists believe that it’s getting ready to celebrate 2012 by starting to shake, rattle, and roll. Just over a week ago there was a little volcano hiccup that sent a whole bunch of ash and other particulate into the skies, but things quickly dissipated and flights weren’t really affected. The concern still remains, as the tippy top of the volcano is right in the way of one of the main commercial flight paths between North America and Asia.
Nature Travel / Costa Rica Travel / Hiking / Green Travel / Active Travel / National Parks / Volcanoes / Volcano Travel / → All Tags
Have you got a spare three or four hours? If you were in Costa Rica right now, those could be spent hiking around a volcano and petting frogs. Sure, everyone knows the giant Arenal volcano towards the center of the Central American country, but Costa Rica has six other active volcanoes, one of which is Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, located in the Guanacaste province and within its own National Park.
Rincón de la Vieja is serious business as far as volcanoes go. Heading up to its top rim and caldera is no longer allowed (too risky!) but local, experienced guides can easily lead you on a several-hour hike to spot fumaroles (steam vents), bubbly muddy water cauldrons, cute froggies and waterfalls so clear and cool you'd think it was Norway instead.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Iceland Travel / Travel News / Weather / Katla / → All Tags
If you remember back to the not that long ago time known as yesterday, we mentioned how there’s one of those pesky volcanoes causing a little trouble on the bottom half of the earth. Well back up on the top half there might be some problems too, and once again we’re ready to blame Iceland.
At least this year it’ll be a little easier to pronounce and discuss, as the problem child is the Katla volcano. This pesky little sucker is located towards the country’s southern coastline, and unfortunately it’s much larger than the Eyjafjallajokul that we remember so well from last year. Some scientists even think that if Katla gets a little feisty that it could make last year’s ash problems seem small by comparison—oh boy.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Travel News / Weather / AEP / → All Tags
Here we go again, as it looks like there’s some volcanoes getting ready to wreck travel plans all over the globe. Something is already brewing again in Iceland—more on that tomorrow—but the latest stuff flying out of the earth is coming from south of the equator.
Chile's Puyehue volcano already caused trouble earlier this year, but its ash is now on the loose again and is messing up flights. Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires suspended pretty much all its flights on Sunday, as there was just too much darn particulate in the air to safely operate some jets.
Plenty of domestic flights were screwed up, but there were still some international routes available out of the city’s other airport.
Travel Tips / Travel Snapshot / Travel Snapshots / Delta / PDX / Portland Travel / Volcanoes / → All Tags
The more you travel, the more possibility there is that you'll learn something (or many things) new every day. Our latest little discovery? No matter which side of the plane you're sitting on during a flight to Portland, Oregon, entering from the east, you're going to have awesome views. Just make sure you score a window seat, or else risk straining your neck and camera above a stranger seatmate.
Specifically, the two great views while on the descent into PDX are of Mt. Hood (on the left) and Mt. Rainier (on the right). Both are volcanoes, and both are active though Mt. Hood is very much less so. Pick your seat based on which one holds more interest for you: Mt. Hood that towers over Portland, or Mt. Rainier which, though further away, holds the greatest danger. Cloudy day? No problem; these massive wonders of geologic insanity easily tower above the clouds.
Big Ash Problems / Volcanoes / Delays / Travel News / Weather / Australia / Australia Travel / Melbourne / Melbourne Travel / New Zealand / New Zealand Travel / Qantas / Air New Zealand / Jetstar / → All Tags
Well this is getting kind of tired. In March Big Ash Problems caused by erupting volcanoes grounding flights throughout Japan. Then in May it was Europe's turn, with the ash cloud from Iceland's Grimsvotn eruption disrupting air travel first in Scotland and then in other parts of the continent.
Now the Puyehue volcano in Chile has blown its top. First the ash cloud first wrecked havoc on Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Then over the weekend it traveled across the Pacific and shut down airports from Melbourne to New Zealand. With some flights still grounded indefinitely, 2011 is shaping up to be even worse than 2010, the year of vengeful air travel volcano gods.