FAYKSHYT, New Zealand — Deep below the earth’s surface, someone is boiling water and pumping it into a protected lake in the beautiful Waimangu Rift Valley. The lake’s temperature is now so hot, in fact, that locals have nicknamed it Frying Pan Lake.
“Why would anyone do this?” said Mary, a resident in a psychiatric hospital in the nearby city of Rotorua. “Is this about fish? Does this agent of evil hate fish?”
“If so, why not throw a toaster into the lake to electrocute the poor creatures?” she said. “That would at least be more humane than boiling them alive.”
Even worse is that someone is also pouring acid into the pristine natural water, resulting in a dangerous pH of 3.5 — even more acidic than urine, coffee and acid rain combined. So in addition to being inhospitable, the water in Frying Pan Lake is also undrinkable, even for rugged New Zealanders who are used to surviving off of beetle grubs and swagger.
“Sick, sick, sick,” Mary said when asked if she had ever considered drinking a cocktail of boiling urine and coffee.
While the lake was once referred to as one of the greatest natural wonders of New Zealand, the country’s tourism board has started advertising it as “the biggest steaming piss pot in the the southern hemisphere.”
Authorities have not arrested anyone for the environmental attack, but they speculate more than one person is involved. Park ranger Shayne Ferris says that based on the time it takes to boil a single kettle of water, at least a thousand people must be involved in heating the six-meter-deep lake that has a surface area of 38,000 square meters.
“Give or take,” he said. “Unless they have an industrial-sized vat, then we’re looking at a minimum of 10 people.”
“Or maybe they’ve constructed a furnace under the lake, in which case, well, yeah, I guess it could be just one person,” he added.