It’s Chile’s fault. Well, the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano, anyway. It started up again the other day and ash has been blown eastwards two-thirds of the way around the bloody globe, to the point where it has all but grounded all air services in and out of Tasmania. Services to and from New Zealand are also affected.
My brother, whose work regularly takes him to Hobart Airport and knows many of the ground staff, tells me people are going stark-staring mad out there. Travellers frantically calling their bosses interstate and overseas, telling them they won’t be back at work until further notice. As a remote island, if you can’t fly out, you’re pretty well stuck here. The one major passenger ship, The Spirit Of Tasmania (my own preferred method of travel to and from Melbourne), has cleared its cinema to offer 110 extra seats per nightly crossing, but they were snapped up within minutes.
By all means, visit Tasmania some day! One day on the island and you’ll see why I moved here, and will never leave. Endless natural beauty, the world’s freshest air, food and wine to die for, and a totally relaxed lifestyle. Just not at the moment…
It makes you think, though. How powerless we are at the hands of nature, and the hubris that places us at the centre of the universe, as if we can change anything beyond our own little patch of dirt. In 1991, after Mt Pinatubo erupted, the earth is said to have cooled half a degree. At an IPCC estimate of 2° Celsius warming this century, (say) half of that anthropogenic, that makes it equivalent to undoing fifty years of man’s best efforts at spewing out greenhouse gases!
It makes you think.
Update 21 June 1145 AEST:
Well, the whole east coast is stuffed now. According to this article, all flights in and out of Sydney and Newcastle are cancelled indefinitely from 3pm, Canberra from noon, Melbourne and Mildura from 4pm. Virgin Australia say Brisbane is likely to be affected as well. If you have any relatives or friends flying to or from eastern Australia any time soon, let them know.