Amazing photographs have emerged of a newly formed volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean – but admire them while you can because scientists claim it will soon disappear.
The island, located about 65 kilometres off Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu, began forming in January after the ash from the eruption of an underwater volcano accumulated in the sea.
Eventually, so much ash accumulated that the small island was formed. Tonga’s land and natural resources ministry have confirmed that the island is 800m wide and 1.3km long – but that it may not stay that size.
Photos emerged of the island after local hotel owner GP Orbassano, his friend and his son, visited the island on Saturday taking a series of amazing pictures.
But fellow tourists better get themselves over soon as scientists have warned the island may only be around for a few weeks.
Professor of volcanology at the University of Cambridge Clive Oppenheimer said the new island, formed first of ash and then lava, had survived the first test as similar ash islands are destroyed by waves as they form.
"But this has evidently been going on for a while, so is unlikely to disappear overnight," he told The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Orbasso, an Italian national who moved to Tongo more than 20 years ago, said when he heard about the island he had to photograph it.
Indonesian retreats: The Big Six
Indonesian retreats: The Big Six
1/6 Tiger Blue, Eastern Indonesia
Tiger Blue, Eastern Indonesia
This traditional Indonesian 112ft timber phinisi yacht sails around the country's eastern islands. It sleeps up to 12 adults in five en-suite cabins which range in size from the Upper Double, with a king-size bed, to a Family Cabin, which has room for four in its king-size bed and two singles. Passengers share meals around a large dining table, and there's the opportunity to waterski, dive or snorkel from the boat. Alternatively, you can simply relax on one of the sun loungers on the top deck. Departs from Sarong, Ambon, Komodo or Maumere.
One week in a double cabin from $3,885 plus $100pp for marine park fees. Price includes all meals and some drinks (020 7792 8884; tigerblue.info).
2/6 Nikoi Island, Bintan
Nikoi Island, Bintan
This small private island, five miles off the east coast of Bintan, is ringed with white sandy beaches and coral reefs. The resort's 15 stilted beach houses are designed to reflect vernacular Indonesian architecture and blend in to the environment, with driftwood and thatced roofs made from alang-alang fronds. Sizes range from one- to three-bedroom, each with en-suite bathrooms and balconies. The pool is built among granite boulders overlooking the white-sand beach, and there's an adjacent wading pool for children, plus a bar.
Doubles from $285 (£190), room only (00 62 811 7045 147; nikoi.com).
3/6 Misool, Raja Ampat
Misool, Raja Ampat
Set on its own island, this diving and conservation centre is in the remote Raja Ampat archipelago. The resort was built from reclaimed tropical hardwood, with guest accommodation positioned on stilts over the clear waters of the Pacific, all featuring Balinese-style open-air bathrooms, plus hammocks and handcrafted furniture. Surrounded by uninhabited islands and the resort's own protected marine area, guests can make use of Misool's Dive Centre, or simply relax on the white-sand beach.
Doubles from €2,195 for seven nights (minimum stay), including breakfast (misoolecoresort.com).
4/6 Nihiwatu, Sumba
Stretching across a 560-acre site, this all-villa resort sits on a 1.5-mile beach. The 21 villas are each built on its own terrace, with verandas offering sea views. Facilities on offer include several bars and restaurants, as well as the Beach Spa, with treatment pavilions tucked on the sand. Stretch and meditate in the creekside Yoga Pavilion or sign up for watersports such as surfing and scuba. The resort is to reopen on 1 March after maintenance work and, from April, guests can check into the new two-bedroom beachfront villa, Raja Mendaka.
Doubles from $900 (£576) including breakfast (00 62 361 757 149; nihiwatu.com).
5/6 Chedi Club Jimbaran, Bali
Chedi Club Jimbaran, Bali
Set to open early this year, this intimate resort is tucked into the hills overlooking Bali's Jimbaran Bay. Each private hideaway in the 34-villa retreat is staffed by a round-the-clock butler service, and each comes with its own private swimming pool and sun deck. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to flood the rooms, while the bathrooms feature carved stone bathtubs. The top-category villas also include balconies and private terraces. Elsewhere in the resort you will find a spa and restaurant.
One-bedroom pool villas from $420 (£269) per night, with breakfast (00 62 361 704435; ghmhotels.com).
6/6 The Sanchaya, Bintan
The Sanchaya, Bintan
This brand-new beachside resort, a short ferry ride south of Singapore, comprises nine suites and 19 private villas, each featuring collectable works of art and furnishings inspired by South-east Asian culture and history. Rooms all include private verandas, super-king beds, walk-in wardrobes and iPads. Guests looking to splash out can do so with their own wine fridge, which comes stocked with a choice of vintages. For casual dining there is the Tasanee Grill, while in the Library and Bar you can enjoy a nightcap while listening to your choice of music from the resort's playlist.
Doubles from US$520 (£333), including breakfast (thesanchaya.com).
"We had a beautiful view of the volcano, which inside is now full of green emerald water, smelling of sulphur and other chemicals," he told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.
"This was a great location. It's not every day a new island appears in the middle of the ocean,” he added.