So here I am about to dive into a mud-oozing mini-volcano. I just climbed a few meters down a slippery ladder into the cone, and one of the attending village men grabs and pulls me into the thick cement-grey slurrie. Seconds later I’m floating on my back, effortlessly sliding across the surface like a puck on ice.
It’s a strange and intriguing sensation floating inside Volcan del Totumo in Colombia. Our guide claimed it sits on top of a special place on Earth where is no gravity. That is of course nonsense (though she seemed to believe it herself), but it’s true that you almost feel weightless inside.
The mud shaft goes down a very long way so you can’t stand anywhere, but then you also don’t have to; the mud’s viscosity is just so that it holds you in place. If you submerge yourself you can move your body like you would underwater, except there is more resistance. It’s a bit like scuba diving while also feeling stoned from the neck down.
It’s possible to stand completely upright in the mud with only your head sticking out the top. You can also float on top of the surface, like you’re on top of the Dead Sea. Sometimes you keel over and have to paddle like a dog to find your centre of gravity again. It’s actually hilarious—and as the pit fills with more people, so it also fills with more laughter.
We all floated around for a while until it was finally time to leave again. Following a ritual mud baptizing by my travel companions—resulting in mud-filled ears and nostrils for everyone—we proceed to a nearby lagoon where ladies from the local village bathe us in exchange for a small tip.
As buckets of water are being poured over my head and fingers-that-aren’t-mine poke into my ears, I can barely make out the lady saying “naked, naked!”. I’m not quite sure what is going on, but it turns out we are being commanded to take our swimming trunks and bikinis off underwater so they can be washed.
When I signed up for a mud bath I expected a quiet spa day to recover from several days of sightseeing, but instead we were treated to an exciting ‘zero gravity’ mud pit adventure.
This whole thing was weird.
I want to do it again.
This small mineshaft-like structure had been created for tourists
Some of my travel buddies enjoying a massage
Making our way back up the ladder
The mud volcano actually looks pretty dorky from the outside
Photo Credit: Thanks to Serena for letting me use some of her pictures!