Travel Thursdays: Black Sand Volcano

So in 2005 I was in Central America for 6 months.  The photo I have today takes me to Leon, Nicaragua where, like any developing nation, OH&S tends to be a little relaxed. This of course leaves the door open for enterprising travel companies to create interesting experiences. (Any by interesting I mean most probably illegal or highly regulated in other countries.)

We stayed at a relatively new hostel called Bigfoot, run by a crazy Australian called Darren. In addition to building the hostel, Dazza was setting up an adventure tour company.

This company specialised in trips to a black sand volcano called Cerro Negro. The day trip sounded pretty cool – a trek up a black sand volcano followed by a swim in a beautiful volcano lake. There was one particular part of the day trip that caught our attention, and that was the rather baffling concept of “mattress surfing”.

Turns out we were pretty much like guinea pigs…mattress surfing guinea pigs.

Mattress surfing basically involved trekking to the top of the black sand volcano carrying an old snowboard and a cheap foam mattress.

Once at the top of the volcano, after admiring the various views and being terrified by the wierd volcano bugs, there comes a time when you have to get back down…and you realise you aren’t going back the way you came.

This is where all the elements of mattress surfing come together in perfect harmony.

You place the old snowboard pointing down the hill. Then the cheap foam mattress goes on top of that, leaving a little of the snowboard exposed for the person at the front to grab on to.

Then you pile onto the mattress in single file, like sitting on a bobsled.

Then you maneuvre yourself onto the edge of the incredibly steep side slope of the volcano.

Then you realise that when they say “black sand” they really mean “black small pieces of volcanic rock that are rather sharp and uncomfortable”.

Then, gripping the person in front of you tightly with both your hand and your legs you launch yourself down the slope. It takes a moment of two to get up some serious speed, but it happens, and then you are flying down the side of this volcano, not realling thinking about how crazy the idea of “mattress surfing” really is.

And you look a little something like this…

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