Ends of the Earth Expedition, March 11, DAY 29

Drove to the Masaya volcano. It is an active volcano that continually releases smoke and gas. The large parking lot is scared from the lava rock that fell from the sky in 2001, the last time it erupted. The volcano crater looks like a large pit in the ground, similar to what we see in some of the mining operations in Arizona. The rocks surrounding the crater are an interesting shade of yellow and green. A sulfur smell permeates the air, in fact, it’s so thick you taste it. 

 

We received special permission to drive an overland route to the other side of the volcano with the park guides. It was a great route that reminded us a little of the jungle in Guatemala. On the way back, the guides pulled out hard hats for us all to wear and had us get out and walk down a path to the bat cave (I’m not kidding). It was completely dark at this point (about 7 pm). We came to a big tree and we had to use the stones and tree roots to climb down to the opening of a cave. It is estimated that 20,000 bats live in this cave. We began to descend into the cave and would instinctively duck as the bats would fly by us on their way out of the dark, moist cave. The further we got in the cave, the more bats there were. In one chamber where we stopped they were just everywhere. Without our lights it was so dark, you couldn’t see them, but you could hear a high-pitched screeching noise. If we turned off all the lights and just stood there, you could feel the air from their wings as they swoosh by your head. When we took a picture using our flash, all of a sudden you would hear a loud swooshing away, like they were heading toward you, but the flash or noise of the camera made them turn away. It was crazy how many there were when we illuminated the cave – like hundreds all flying around us.

 

After we had our fill of bats, a lava tunnel where the ancient people conducted ritual sacrifices, and a look over the edge of the volcano into the depths to see the glowing lava, we made dinner and camped in the parking lot of the volcano – that is after we signed a release saying something to the effect that we wouldn’t hold the park liable if, say the volcano erupted in the night and we all died (I know, doesn’t make sense to me either), but we were willing to sign anything to add one more “life does not suck moment” to our repertoire. 

 

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