Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mt Poas, Costa Rica

With all the recent natural disasters in the world making headlines, I'm pretty content to be steering clear of them and enjoying the mostly sunny skies of the Caribbean and Central America.

However, on a recent trip to San Jose, Costa Rica, as I was unpacking my suitcase in my hotel room, the entire building began to shake and I immediately knew it wasn't the icemaker down the hall!
Yes, it was a small earthquake....enough to knock the pictures off my wall and kill the electricity for a couple of hours but no real damage that I heard about.

The next morning's ride out to the airport had me riding shotgun in the crew van next to our driver. I can speak some limited Spanish so I asked him about the earthquake the previous afternoon. I understood him to say that "oh, we get those all the big deal" or something to that effect. That would make sense since Costa Rica is right smack in the middle of a chain of volcanoes (with it's associated seismic activity) running right down the Pacific coastlines of the Americas.

Then we started discussing the volcanoes in the general vicinity of San Jose. I asked him about any major eruptions and how often they might occur. He said that about every thirty years or so they get an eruption out of one of the nearby volcanoes.

"So how long has it been since the last one?" I asked.

"About thirty years!" he said laughingly!

So with all that to think about we launched our fully loaded 757 for the 2.5 hour leg to Miami.

In a previous post I talked about the departure procedure in San Jose. This day was no different. Takeoff was on runway 07 with a steep climbout to the south, then west, and then an eventual turn to the north.

The POAS SID (standard instrument departure) takes air traffic right by Mt Poas, which lies not too far from San Jose. Typically the peak is obscured by cloud cover, but this was our lucky day. Clear skies prevailed and we would get to look straight down into the semi-active crater.

No ash cloud to worry about though. This volcano was only spewing small amounts of steam and sulfur. Let's hope it stays that way for a long time.

Looking off towards the southeast in the direction of Panama, we could see a more active peak spewing what looked like an ash cloud. Best to steer clear of this one!

No, it's not nearly as impressive as the eruption in Iceland, but it was still fun to see an active volcano from a safe distance. Volcanoes are just not something you get to see that often and if I ever get to see an eruption like the recent one in Iceland, I hope that the ash cloud and I are moving in opposite directions!

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.


Mark Lawrence said...

Great shots Len! Nice, as you say, to see that from a distance! I can bet you are well glad you weren't on the European rotation the last few weeks!!!

Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Mark,

Thanks! Yeah, we had about 150 crewmembers stuck over in Europe during that ordeal. Bet they weren't too happy about it!


Hugo said...

Len, I'm envious! You have the best seats in the house. GREAT pictures! Wishing you tailwinds and CAVU flights.

Hugo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Len (Barfbag) said...

Hi Hugo,

Thanks for stopping by.


Yann said...

This truly a wonderful view and awesome pics of the volcano , I wish I could get to see something like that in the future... For now I'm stuck at 2000ft AGL, but still I love it lol.

Aron said...

That's awesome! We just posted about our trip there, but missed any good photos as the mountain was stormed in. So cool!

Postcards and Coasters said...

Headed to Costa Rica this Saturday... was thinking I was going to a place where not too much is going on then I read about the earthquake and see the volcano. Oh boy! I'm hoping for a calm vacation. Sounds like a fun layover.

Игорь Шереметьев said...

great photos of so different calderas! thank you for sharing! it is really illustrative

AnaVar said...

Amazing photos! I have problems to pick a destination for a trip every year. This year, we are going to Greece, but next year, I'll consider about Costa Rica :) I'll bookmark your blog and hope to see more posts and great photos! Ana V.