If I'm going to build a portal to hell, I'm not just going to stick it in my basement or something. I can do better than that!
If you could see anything in this picture, you would see my underwater tower:
Using the map, I picked a spot along my subway track that was at about the deepest point of the expanse of ocean east of Epic Island, and started digging up. Building an underwater tower from the bottom up presented some interesting engineering challenges, which I was able to overcome.
Building the damn thing is a bother in itself as well, as it needs to be made of obsidian. Naturally occurring obsidian is rare and hard to mine, so the easiest way to procure some is by using lava. After hauling bucketfuls of lava over, the portal is finished:
The Nether is scary. It's almost pitch dark and there are creepy moaning noises. My immediate purpose in coming here is easy to achieve: pretty much all of the ground is netherrack. But now that I'm here, I feel obliged to explore. This is where I've landed:
The glowing blocks are glowstone, which is the best artificial light source in the game: it gives off more light than torches, and also works underwater. Since I'm here, I gotta get me some of that. Only, here's the problem: