The 17th century genocidal European colonisers of Martinique were cursed. As they died the indigenous peoples damned their murderers, swearing the mountain would avenge them. 250 years later, Mont Pelée (Bald Mountain) erupted on Sunday morning May 8, 1902. A super-heated cloud of ash and dust blasted out of the western side of the mountain. The pyroclastic cloud achieved speeds of 300mph (483kph) and temperatures over 1,832F (1,000C). Every combustible thing in its path vaporised, including 30,000 people in the town of St. Pierre.
A century later the mountain is lush and green and quiet. We saw no activity: no steam vents, flying rocks or mysterious rumblings. That’s not to say it’s dead. Like the proverbial parrot, Mont Pelée is resting.
If the idea of climbing around the world’s third deadliest volcano sounds like fun, then you’ll enjoy this short video.