20 March.....we scramble from what is left of our camp after 2 days of constant high winds and rain finally wreck both our tents at daybreak, after 12 hrs of carrying all 700kg of equipment to a new, more sheltered campsite down from the summit area we finally finish makeshift repairs to the tents and put them back up at nightfall amid clouds of choking fumes and heavy rain that tasted like battery acid....does this sound like fun ?
March 22, Bigger mess, different location...this is what happened shortly after we moved our broken tents and equipment down the hill and repaired them, we then had to spend the next 48 hrs huddled under what was left waiting for a helicopter to get in and rescue us, soaking wet, freezing cold and eyes stinging from the high strength acid rain that severely corroded every exposed metal surface in only a few hours....oh, and then the generator overturned in our tent adding petrol to the water we were lying in. Winds from the slow moving 997hpa tropical low exceeded 100kph and pounded us with torrential rain almost constantly for 4 days during which time we were awake the whole time just trying to hold up the tents...to make matters worse the winds were driving toxic choking fumes directly onto us from Marum's crater....then, the cave we were trying to dig into a cliff in desperation to create shelter collapsed, nearly burying Rachel and Mark. At about this time as we resigned ourselves to another night of hell, pilot Phil Cotter from Port Vila finally managed to land after repeated attempts plucking us to safety in almost zero visibility and high winds. We left with only the clothes we were wearing and a few pieces of camera equipment, the rest being destroyed or blown away.
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