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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Volcano on Savo, S.I. Source: B Montgomery
I've been enjoying the South Pacific series of documentaries broadcast on the ABC recently. Last night was a tribute to the power of underwater volcanoes and how their activity has put much of Pacifica on the map.
   Many years ago my daughter and I had the priveledge of travelling to a volcanic island, Savo in the Solomon Islands. It was only a small island and the streams that ran into the sea were hot and sulphurous. To bathe at night we had to go down to the beach and wait in line at the well. The well was a hole dug into the water lens, the natural brackish water just below the surface of the island.
Digging for Megapode eggs. Source: B Montgomery
   We visited the infamous megapode bird gardens. This is where birds the size of chickens dig deep into the sand at night and lay their eggs in the volcanic warmth of the subterranian layers. The eggs are about three times the size of an average chicken's egg. It's hard to imagine how the megapode can actually produce something so big.
Savo volcano. Source:B Montgomery
   Later we walked on to the volcano which I expected to be a high mountain climb to a hot rocky crater. No such thing. The volcano was a cleft in a hillside that billowed steam and smoke and made glug glug glug noises as it vented into a passing stream. There were no sparks or thunderous rumbles or rivers of red hot lava. Maybe I'll have to wait until I get to Hawaii one day to see something like that.
   What struck me the whole time we were on Savo was the rotten egg smell of the sulphur in the air and the way that the sand was so warm, where ever we walked. The people were friendly and very hospitable but the trip back to Honiara in a bray boat through a storm was terrifying. Apart from thinking I was about to die in Iron Bottom Sound, it was a lovely holiday.

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