SOUTH PACIFIC (CNN) — A hot trip down into a volcano is one must-see video.
“You cannot physically get any closer to this lava without swimming in it,” said adventurer and explorer George Kourounis.
In the video, that’s Kourounis in the heat-resistant suit — along with his accomplice in adventure, Sam Cossman. Kourounis is the teeny weeny figure at the bottom of a volcano pit in the South Pacific.
“It’s also one of the most dangerous and difficult to get to,” said Kourounis.
They rappelled down 1,200 feet, a depth equal to the height of the Empire State Building. It took two hours to descend to about 50 feet above the churning lava. Even wearing a fire-resistant suit, Kourounis could only stand there a couple of minutes at a time.
Kourounis says he was sweating in there, too.
“Oh yeah, absolutely,” he said. “The heat from the volcano is sapping the energy out of you.”
They used a laser thermometer to measure the temperature of flying rocks. Look out for the lava.
“Parts of it actually splashed me and melted my jacket,” said Kourounis.
As for the noise:
“I call it the sound of Satan’s washing machine, just churning, bubbling, gurgling, continuous thundering sound,” said Kourounis.
He says it was unlikely the volcano would erupt. They were more worried about the edge of the crater above crumbling and raining rocks down on them.
Kourounis doesn’t just rappel into volcanoes; he got married on one to the sounds of a conch shell and periodic eruptions of Mt. Yasur. They exchanged vows back in 2006.
As for this volcano, he’ll never get over that mesmerizing orange glow.
“To me, it doesn’t even look real, and I’m the guy in the shot,” said Kourounis.
But boys will be boys, even deep in the mouth of a volcano. Why settle for a selfie when you can horse around with a rubber mask, as long as it doesn’t melt?