Its existence only a few travelers know. And the locals, the inhabitants of the islands of New Zealand, few people had ever heard of him. Yet the phenomenon is very curious a natural fire, now nearly a hundred years of burning forest undergrowth in the middle of the deserted bush.
The rivers flowing past the secluded village of Murchison, which is the South Island, the largest in New Zealand, full of trout and anglers from all over the world come here to try their luck fishing. But in the Blackwater River trout today is not usual at all. At first glance, it is quite typical of the South Island river clear and fast. However, there is one feature of Black water: Water publishes its barely perceptible smell of kerosene.
The concentration of hydrocarbons in the river is very low, but the available amount was enough to Black water got its name that speaks in English the Blackwater means black water a comment. Interpreter, and more than enough to ensure that it has ceased to be driven trout.
It’s all about oil and gas field, discovered in the second half of the last century in the depths of the surrounding hills. From there, the oil and falls into the river stream. And in the valley comes to the surface associated gas, methane. At the beginning of XX century among deaf forest, he gave life to the fire, and since then it continually feeds, giving fade away.
But lost in the wilds of deaf wonderful beech forest fire without a guide, you will find will not be easy. Locals have named this wonderful attraction fuel breath. A family travel company, Merve & Shirley Bigden spouses Bigdenov, included unfading fire Blackwater Valley to their tour programs called Hike to the natural fire, turning the forest into a real adventure tour.
For nearly a hundred years, he burns smokeless bright yellow flame, feeding on the right to the surface of natural methane. But lost among the thickets of bush deserted natural fire remains unknown to most visiting tourists and even the majority of New Zealanders living outside Murchison, a tiny village consisting of only two streets.
According to legend, the eternal flame in the Blackwater River Valley emerged in the 20s of XX century, when two hunters sat down to smoke in the grove, and one of them threw a match and since it came on out of there on the ground of natural gas. Owners of local travel agencies spouse Bygdoy argue, however, that the hunter, he just sniffed the air, and went into a rage, threw a lit match to see what happens.
Yet, according to one version, the hunters could smell gas pipe stuck in the ground and put it into her burning match. So it was anyway, but as a result of the fire since then and burns, not extinguished. On the morning winter day I went to the four hour journey to the forest fire miracle, in the company of two other visitors and local residents named Shelley him as a conductor.
We had to overcome fifteen kilometers by car to the south of leading a bumpy road and then a 2.4 km walk along the winding path along the forest. Our guide, Shelley, comes from the old Murchison kind of leading count their ancestry from the time of settlement of the region in the first decade of the XIX century, so that a local study of local lore, she knows a lot.
We stopped to take a breath, and Shelley began to tell us all sorts of stories about the trail and the neighborhood; He showed the old rig, with which is trying to pump oil in the 70s of the last century and told about the peculiarities of native plants …
From her stories, we learned, for example, as in the old days the New Zealand bush trampled giant moa bird. The population of them was here once as numerous as the population of ostriches, but due to uncontrolled hunting this ancient bird was on the verge of extinction. The guide showed us and Shelley Wood horoeka that in order to protect young seedlings from the encroachments of the moa has changed during the evolution of their original form.
In young leaves formed horoeka tough, leathery to the touch, lanceolate. With the growth of these trees, their leaves, eventually becoming inaccessible to beaks moa, and then their trunk crowned extensive crowns. Even today horoeka develop in this way. When we walked Shelley forest trail, mature trees solemnly greeted us with a nod of the head lush green hair.
About an hour later, our eyes opened suddenly a bright yellow flame of fire. Among the damp green of the trees and ferns that approximately a burning fire, which is a hotbed for flat bowl about two meters wide, the impression is quite amazing.
Even more eerie. As if the forest spirits soared here a few moments before our arrival. But on a cold foggy day hearth fire rejoice even in a mystical context. I stared spellbound at the fire, and then hurried closer to warm cold hands. Shelly, meanwhile, has put on the fire camp kettle, boil the water and threw tea leaves; Currently, tea is a thick, dark and smoked flavor.
Then on the hot stones, hidden at the bottom of the forest hearth, she put the pan and baked pancakes. And as a gravy ready to honey pancakes is served. That was a local honeydew honey Tutak which bees made from honeydew, or honeydew released from the trees in the form of small droplets and the processed feed on tree sap and insects.
Honey was a pleasant sweet, not cloying; We watered them tender, piping, heat pancakes and eating with relish all these eatables, staring at the fire and tried to mentally imagine somewhere in the depths of the earth geological whim, through which we are now able to enjoy the warmth and comfort of the forest fire. About an hour we sat there on the old wooden benches, watching the fire, wondering how he keeps himself among winter forest, is now shrouded in mist, Winterhoof.
For almost one hundred years of its existence, he went out a few times, filled with rain, and then had to kindle it again. In the world there are at least nine other places where the eternal flame exist in nature, thanks to the availability of large natural gas.
The two most famous attract crowds of tourists and of great cultural and religious excitement; around them for centuries they evolved myths. Dozens of natural torches burning in the crevices of the ruins of the mountain Yanartash the ancient city of Olympos, which is the territory of modern Turkey.
Once their bright light illuminated the path goes past the ships at night. Torches burned those already at least 2.5 thousand. Years, and there is a theory that it is here that was born the myth of fire breathing Chimera of Homeric Iliad. Below you can see the ruins of the Temple of Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire and Blacksmithing.
Another famous example a fire in the church in the same town Dzhvalamuhi of Himachal Pradesh in India. Fire is worshiped as a deity in fact, is the Hindu goddess of fire approx. Interpreter, and every year he collected thousands of pilgrims, bringing them with sweets, milk and fruit for offerings.
New Zealand and geology, and culturally a young country and something equally impressive boast of course, can not. There are no ancient ruins and artifacts. But on the islands of New Zealand, you can find a lot of antiquities, local plants, birds, landscapes, watersheds…
A fire in the valley of the unfading Blackwater a phenomenon unique in its kind. He lives in a truly unique surroundings dense vegetation sheltered, secluded area among the deserted expanses of the New Zealand bush.
Even more special it makes the fact that oil and gas deposits Blackwater exposed underground natural shifts. In addition, at the end of the year there may be resumed drilling, and then the field will disappear, and with it will go, and the gas feeding the fire. So far, however, Murchison unquenchable fire lives as before, and a local travel company continues to lead the family to his tour.
This walk a great opportunity to wander long on the soft moss along the beech forest until glimmer far redder flame. And this is a wonderful occasion to reflect on the power of the invisible underground forces when, going way back, you’ll listen to the quiet miracle the fire crackling behind you.