KRAKATAU...What a Blast..!!!

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January 13th 2012
Published: January 13th 2012
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KRAKATAU...What a Blast..!!!

Our first trip inspired by Travelblog... December 2011/ January 2012

"Climbing volcanoes in Java and reaching enlightenment at Borobudur...someone has to do it Tour".

What better place to start than the A-lister of active volcanoes... Anak Krakatau... the Child of Krakatau?

And quite an adventure it was..!

Situated in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java...about 50 kms off-shore from Carita Beach, West Java ...our dream destination ...but must be approached with it is notoriously..."D for Danger."

In May 1883 three volcano islands started erupting resulting on 27 August 1883 with the loudest explosion in modern history...a series of 4 explosions...the blowing up of these islands...the eruption of Krakatau.

Shock waves were recorded as circling the globe 7 times...tzunamis up to 30 metres high (100 feet) in places...ash clouds to 80 kms (50 miles) into the air...affected the World's climate until temperatures reduced for about a year by about 1.2 degrees C or 2.2 degrees F due to ash clouds...a death toll attributed of over 40,000 people.

In December 1927 an underwater eruption occurred in the vicinity and in August 1930 a new volcano emerged from the sea...the birth of Anak Krakatau...the child of Krakatau.

It has grown about 13 cms (5 inches) per year since the 1950s...and sits on its own island.

Since 1994 it has been erupting regularly...with quiet periods of a few days between...thus currently active in anyone's book.

The most recent eruption of any significance began on 25 October 2010 for about a month with an eruptive phase continuing until 31 July 2011.

We were told the area was off limits until about May 2011.

My research indicates further seisimic activity was recorded in August to October 2011 and as at 3 October 2011 the Alert Level was 3 (the worst is 4) and residents and tourists were excluded from a 2 km radius of the crater.

We ventured to Anak Krakatoa on 20 December 2011...I have no idea of the "official status" but we survived to tell this tale...and what an adventure it was..!

The trip was advertised as 50 kms off the coast of West Java...90 minutes in a "fast boat"...climbing to about 150 metres weather permitting...then snorkling off Rakata...the remaining crater of Krakatau...sounded idyllic if we could escape sea sickness...didn't it..?

I considered how I had felt green many years before hydrofoiling to St Crispin's Reef in the outer Great Barrier Reef of Eastern Australia. The sea was only slightly rough that day.

Then there was the 24 km return trip in a ferry from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 2009...was OK on the trip getting there...but there were heavy seas on our return. Some passengers threw up as soon as we left the wharf. I hung on by watching a Z grade Thai/Chinese Kung fu film on the ferry's TV...then when the words "THE END" appeared on the screen...I can still see those words...grabbed a sick bag from the seat in front...and threw up until we reached land...and then all that night...I blame my lunch though.

I suggested to the Swiss guy sitting next to me that we had been chatting with...could move...I perfectly understand...but he said it was OK and politely sat there for the rest of the trip...while I threw up my lunch in the brown about embarrassing..!

So I had reasons for concern at my intended "90 minutes in a fast boat"...travelling 50 kms off-shore...then the return...but the advertised concept was so overcame any reluctance.

We stayed at Sanghyang Indah Spa Resort overnight...amazed

Our "fast boat" driver to Krakatau
we were among only a handful of guests...Indonesian holidays start in a few days.

A fisherman offerred to take us...but thought it was probably not possible for two days due to rough seas. He pointed at a pointy island far in the distance. I reasoned he did not have a fast I'll let others decide if we can do it or not "tomorrow."

Time for a spa treatment & massage at this beautifully landscaped it's starting to rain...after all it is wet season.

7:15 am into an APV...raining on & off...past miles & miles of waterfront resorts and accommodations from thatched huts to other tourists in sight.

Took about an hour to get to Carita Beach...where we would meet our boat.

It was absolutely pouring with rain when we got there...wind not bothering us as the rain was so heavy.

Shoes off...wade up to our shins and into a small fibreglass boat...half cabin...with a square blue flat plastic sheet as the roof for the rear...two 40 hp outboard motors...cameras under cover...hang on...this will be interesting.

Three crew (driver Samsuri & two others Amin and Dargit...all smiling)...our guide Abraham...and Den &

The boat mechanic

We set off at high speed into the pounding waves...over the we fell...over the that all the way...over the top...bang...some bangs bigger than others.

I sat in the only available seat...the driver elevated next to me...smiling each time I looked at him.
I noticed he had a floating compass in front of him that he watched with water hammered the front windscreen. I presumed any life jackets and/or CB radio must be kept somewhere.

Den...brought up on Lake Macquarie...and less likely to be sea sick...sat side saddle streaming in the wind...not sure if she was wetter from the rain or sea spray.

The other two crew and our guide sat on a bench seat at the rear...hands free...riding the waves...probably the most comfortable position.

On a few occasions one of the crew Dargit (presumably the mechanic) had to fiddle and restart one of the outboards.

Having travelled in Africa with the knowledge boat operators can fix anything...our motor malfunctions were of little concern. If he can't restart it and we are left with one motor in heavy seas we would reconsider.

We passed a cargo vessel...left it for

Third member of the "fast boat" crew & our local guide on Anak Krakatau
dead...some traditional fishing boats...saw heaps of flying fish...skipping on the waves...always heading to that pointy island on the eyes then glued to the horizon believing that is how to avoid sea-sickness.

90 minutes came and went.

Soon after that, discovered the island ahead was not Anak Krakatau at all...somewhat surprised the driver had stopped for me to take a photo of it...that's wasn't smoking... and I want smokin'.

Then we saw Krakatau...smoking like a Cherokee signal fire...wedged behind the island ahead and another I felt the excitement build...we are going to Krakatau...I'm going to meet a celebrity (volcano of course).

Took between two to three hours to reach...but as we approached the smoking cone of Anak Krakatau...the clouds lifted...unveiling a clear band of yellow blue sky...excitement building.

The island was elongated...flat on one side with vertial black small cliffs...and the smoking cone at the other.

Pulled into a black/grey sand the leeward of the billowing smoke...some stick shelters at the jungle edge. An official sign "CAGAR ALAM KRAKATAU" marked the spot. The edges of the island were green juvenile jungle but 100 metres in it rose steadily as a vegetation

Pouring with rain...let's go
free cone.

It was very warm on the island...or more accurately very hot. We sweated profusely, sipping our water bottles.

The climb up the cone was soft black sand or cinder...two steps forward...slide one step at a the yaks in Tibet...easier to traverse...Dargit preferring to stay at the base holding our windjackets...Amin & Abraham ahead of Den.

The smoke from the cone appearing to swirl from here...not sure how high we can go.

There was a ridge we were heading for...the lip of the outer cone...that appeared to climb to the right and to the top of the inner cone that was smoking.

I got to within 5 metres of the ridge when I felt the strong wind...blowing straight at me...blew my hat right off my head..!

Now it was no ordinary hat...made in Ecuador...travelled with me through Patagonia, South America...Dubai...Africa on two trips...other assorted...and it had way I'm losing it..!

So I gave chase...and it rolled only on its rim...spinning down the side of the volcano I had just climbed.

I had good boots so footwork was not a I sank deep into the cinder surface

50 kms to go
with each stride...getting faster and faster...whew I can't slow down...planning required.

The hat spun ahead of me to my left...I tried to travel faster than is stopping...but I can't...twist my body so I'm arcing slightly left...then dive...only way I'll stop...I'm diving at the stationary sees me coming...missed it by inches as I thud into the cinder sand...the bastard's taken off again..!

It eventually came to stop against a skeleton sapling near the bottom...but I got my hat back...and I've still got it..!

Now for the determination trebled...I was so so far.

Got back up to the lip of the outer cone...drops steeply to the white cinder valley in front of the white inner cone...smoke swirling...that sweet smell of sulphur...but where were we???

In Heaven...that's where.

Followed the ridge snaking to our right to the inner cone...the majority of the wind blowing that way...Amin said not possible to go further today...not safe..!

So I got as high as I could...or reasonably dared...until the smell of sulphur was strong and unmistakable...then descended to the others...not prepared to shorten our holiday with unnecessary risk...respecting the smokin' volcano that is Anak Krakatau.

She was a true real life if you get close enough to see a celebrity...or nearly close enough to touch and take a pic...a celebrity fan is satisfied...and we did better than that.

At the base a small species of Komodo Dragon headed to someone's bag as we rested...a traditional fishing boat pulled in...driver chatting to our crew.

Then we are off again, around and behind a nearby island, Rakata, the remains of the crater of old Krakatau...water peaceful here...a couple of fishing boats anchored off-shore...pretty as a picture.

Handed snorkles...Den in right away...signalling for me to come...grab snorkle...suddenly the sandy edge of the island dropping away sharply...and millions of fish...swim among fallen trees in the paradise.

I thought about Ali from Travelblog at that moment...and his amazing underwater shots...I think I can see why he's so into it..!

Spicy lunch on the beach with rambutans and other fruits...starting to rain...that's cool...its not heavy...yet.

Left the island over coral beds...heaps of fish...water cerulean then green and clear.

The return trip was fast and exhilarating...about half the time.

Dargit refuelled the motors on the way. I sat on the side while

Shrouded in toxic smoke
Den endured the bouncing seat under cover...we were going with the current they said...much faster...Krakatau puffing smoke like a steam engine.

Pulled into Carita Beach...raining patchy...heaps of people swimming...gave the crew generous tips for keeping us safe...never fearful at any stage.

Amin made us a cup of instant a clear glass...Javan Robusta...with condensed milk...the best coffee we had ever tasted (we said at the time)...introducing us to his family and friends.

Where have we been???

To Heaven...that's where...and back again.

Relax & Enjoy,

Dancing Dave

**** Scroll to the base of the page then left click Next for more photos ****

Additional photos below
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Our Guide for Jakarta & Krakatau

maybe in two days...the sea is too rough

...and it's smokin'

at Anak clear...let's climb

13th January 2012

Wish I was there!
I drove round Mt Agung today and it was as dead as a doornail! Right, game on! I'm going to try and capture some good shots of the wonderful Indonesian people too. I need some of that Dancing Dave magic though ;)
14th January 2012

I thus trace you to Eastern Bali...but no mention whether you climbed Mt Agung...Bali's holiest mountain...I expect to purge you would have done so..!
13th January 2012

D for Danger
Once again a fabulous blog! Always blame a bad lunch, ha, ha. We always have time for one more massage. Maybe some day we will get you under water blowing bubbles.
14th January 2012

Java was a revelation...enjoy the ride..!
13th January 2012

Yay! That's amazing. I look forward to climbing Tanna soon (my first was Kilauea). There is just something about them I can't resist. Should have been a vulcanologist I guess!!
14th January 2012

If you want volcanoes...Java is the is Indonesia...they are everywhere...I love the shape...always gives me a special feeling when I see one.
13th January 2012

How exciting!
I also am prone to seasickness. I inherited greatgrandfather on my Dad's side was a seaman from Tonsburg Norway...he jumped ship in New York, never to return to sea. My great grandfather on my Mom's side was a Grand Banks fisherman from Newfoundland. His son, my grandfather, couldn't take the seasickness so quit after one season and became a logger and then a machinist in Toronto. I'm looking forward to the rest of your trip. I sailed to Java in 1959...perhaps I'm due for a return if you can inspire me!
14th January 2012

And I wasn't sick or even squeamish...too many other things to think of...excitement, expectation, enjoyment...
19th January 2012

Sulphur,sea and scenery
Fabulous blog Dave. But must you make me feel so envious.Sounds like your back was OK even with all that bouncing in the boat. See at Bushcare this Sat nothing more exciting than afew leeches.
20th January 2012

Nice to see you on Travelblog...some surprises to come of the magnificent...most interesting island that is this space.

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