Boaters Think They Found a Sandbar - Turns Out to be Something They'll Truly Never Forget!
We know that our planet is changing all of the time, every day, every minute and every second,
but it usually happens so slowly that we don't perceive it. Occasionally, however, big changes
happen quickly, like they did when the crew of the Maiken was enjoying a leisurely sail through the South Pacific.
They were near the Vava'u Islands in Tonga when they noticed that the water in the distance was a very strange color.
Then, as they approached, the ocean mysteriously turned to stone, with what they initially thought to be a sandbar,
turning out to be something else altogether.
A vast amount of pumice stone was floating to the surface of the water, looking as if it was a beach in the middle of the sea.
The crew decided to sail through it, leaving a break in the stone behind them as they went.
Lucky for them, the timing was right, because just moments later and that boat could have easily ended up torn to pieces.
As they passed through the stone, the field of pumice began to grow. With an uneasy feeling, they began to speed up.
Once they were a safe distance away, they heard a faint rumbling.
Looking back they saw water bubbling from the surface.
It turned out, the pumice stone had been coming from an underwater volcano that had been erupting while they sailed through.
Swedish sailor Fredrik Fransson told Discover magazine when recalling what happened back in the summer of 2006,
"We looked out and, in front of us, it was as if there was no more sea.
"It was like the Sahara, with rolling hills of sand as far as the eye could see.
Then we saw a black pillar (of smoke) shooting up into the air, and we understood that it had to be a volcano,"
he said, adding that they navigated cautiously towards the plume.
"It was kind of a smoldering, smokey stuff," he explained. "It looked like coal, and when there was an eruption,
we could see the new material piling up on it."
They then watched in awe as an island grew before their eyes with each explosion in an area where there should
be an underwater seamount known as the Home Reef.
Underwater eruptions are believed to occur dozens of times a year, but normally in remote areas or at depths
inaccessible to humans.
This crew was very fortunate, not only because they witnessed the amazing birth of an island, something that
few people ever get to see, but also because they apparently just barely escaped with their lives.
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