2:00am – Pas de Bellecombe, Reunion Island.
The sky is red and a smell of sulphur reigns in the air.
The helicopter ballet has started earlier in the night over the caldera, to get the best views of the event.
A hundred of people has come to see it with a mix of fear and excitement.
This year again it will give us its show.
There is no doubt about it: The Peak of the Furnace is in eruption.
I am lucky to experience it.
Reunion Island is a French oversea Island in the Indian Ocean. The Peak of the Furnace –Piton de la Fournaise- is one of the most active volcanoes in the World. It is what scientists call a shield volcano: built entirely with fluid lava flows from effusive eruptions. In my language, it means that there is no explosion with big ash clouds but lava flows with sound and light show.
The Peak of the Furnace erupts at least once in the year. This year, it has been the fifth time. And the magic still happens.
Back to my excitement, I walk about an hour in the light of my headlamp to reach the best point of view of the eruptive crater. It seems unreal. The volcano is right in front of me, pouring its lava, giving to the night a muted and spectacular moment.
For me, the time stops in front this splendour. Mother Nature is reminding us its power and freedom. I feel small and vulnerable, yet at an extreme peace.
At this moment, I feel complete: Me, my Island, Nature.