Stromboli 
(Sicily, Italy) (1985 and 1994)

1985 : at nightfall, I watch the beautiful western crater explosions from the wall farthest down from the summit, near the Schiarra del Fuocco. All of a sudden, a huge bull of lighting fills up my viewfinder and thousands of bombs are hurled down between the edge of the crater and the walls with a terrifying, deafening blast ; some of them whistl past me within inches from my head. I take this picture only a few seconds later, when I was still shaming a little from the shock.
Some Germans are staring incredously at a horribly magnificent bomb which shines with its deadly heat within 3 feet from their tent. Then, they set off, looking vainly for their dog, who has run away howling into the night. I don't really feel like peeking over the Devil's mouths anymore.

1994 : it had been decades since the Stromboli had been as active as it was in 1994. A dozen mouths,at least, following their own internal rhytm and, more often than not, simultaneously.
A nice raspberry coloured lava frantically overflowed from a huge hornito in a disorderly awy ; a tiny window at its base let bombs out. The day after, it turned into a mouth which was tens of feet wide ; it looked like a cylopean eye which hurled bunches of bombs staight upward every 2 or 3 seconds.
Repeatedly, during the night, it got jammed for a few seconds and then emptied itself with a terrifying howling noise.
You could tell how shrill it was by counting how many bewildered faces were popping out their sleeping-bags...

* Back to Stromboli ("Personal volcanic trips").

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