We have visited Indonesia twice, and had the opportunity to climb one of the most fascinating volcanoes in the world, the Krakatoa volcano (or Anak Krakatau).
It is located in the Sunda Strait (Indonesia), between the islands of Java and Sumatra.
1. Krakatoa volcano’s major feats
On August 27th, 1883, the Krakatoa volcano went to such a strong eruption that its blast made the most powerful sound ever heard on Earth, provoking the worst natural cataclysm in men’s memory:It generated a 130 feet high tsunami that wiped out entire regions and killed 36,000 people
The Krakatoa volcano’s cone was pulverized up to 20 miles in the atmosphere causing a global decrease in temperature
Noctulescent clouds were visible in the skies of Europe about ten years after the eruption.
2. Anak Krakatoa, son of Krakatau volcano
On June 29, 1927, at the heart of the Sunda Strait, exactly where the former Krakatau volcano had disappeared, fishermen witnessed an extraordinary spectacle: enormous gas bubbles appeared on the surface of the water in a terrifying roar. Within seconds, the sea began to spit ashes and rocks that quickly formed an island 30 feet high. The Anak Krakatoa (son of Krakatau) was born.
Since then, the regular activity of the volcano has allowed it to progress on the ocean so that it is today an island a thousand feet high. Numerous eruptions have been recorded since its emergence from the bottom of the ocean.
With the islands Sertung Island, Rakata Island and Panjang Island, which are the remains of the former Krakatau volcano, it forms an archipelago within the Ujung Kulon National Park, classified since 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The history of the Krakatoa volcano is so incredible and fantastic that we wanted to discover it!
3. How to get to Krakatoa volcano
Only by boat :With a national trekking agency which includes the climbing of the volcano and the visit of the archipelago in a comprehensive tour of Indonesia.
Directly with a local agency that takes the visitors in charge from Jakarta or from beach resorts such as Carita, Labuan or Anyer. From there, express boats depart for the island of Krakatoa. There are many agencies that organize one-day tours, including crossing the Sunda Strait and climbing the volcano. They organise hikes on the neighboring islands over several days (2 or 3).
4. Sailing in the Sunda Strait
We leave Jakarta and ride to the seaside resort Carita where we spend the night. Early the next morning, accompanied by our guide, we take an express boat to reach the Krakatoa volcano. The sailing to the island lasts 1 hour and a half (45 miles). One hour after we have left the shore, we finally see the volcano silhouette, a grey cone emerged from the dark waters of the Strait. A magnificent trail of white smoke is rising in the sky and forms a cloud stretching over the island. Staring goggle-eyed at the volcano, we remain motionless, absolutely mesmerized by this vision. This Anak Krakatau, the son of the volcano that has upset the world.
Will we be allowed to climb it despite its evident volcanic activity? The guide reassures us, it is possible to hike safely up to the 1st level, about 500 feet high. Going further up would be dangerous.
5. Climbing the Krakatoa volcano
The boat makes a turn around the island and docks on a small beach of black sand. For about 300 feet, we hike on the side of the volcano, through a forest. Behond this tropical vegetation, the landscape is desolated, the ground covered with enormous black and red stones thrown during the last eruptions. The ascent of the Krakatoa volcano does not present any technical difficulty but we climb under a blazing sun. After about forty minutes, we reach the first level, where the guide shows us old seismic measuring devices that are no longer used. We will not go higher. Even at this level, we feel the heat of the ground by putting our hands over it. Around us, volutes of smoke escape from behind the rocks. No doubt, this volcano is truly active.
We can see the volcano summit, impressive gray mass from which a cloud of white smoke escapes. Around us, the panoramic view of the Ujung Kulon National Park is magnificent. The islands of the archipelago are covered with extremely rich vegetation, benefiting both from tropical climate and from the volcanic ash projected during the eruptions.
6. Discovery of the coral reefs
Returning to the beach, we sail in the direction of Rakata Island where a snorkeling activity is organized in the transparent waters of the strait. Thanks to the equipment provided by the agency (snorkel and palms) we discover the magnificent coral reefs.
7. A picnic on a beach that will disappear …
After this refreshing and relaxing activity, we have picnic on the beach. Suddenly we witness an unexpected and somewhat disturbing spectacle: the waves crash on the beach and gobble it up mechanically, meter by meter. Panic-stricken, we quickly go back to the boat and notice, as soon as the engines start, that the beach where we were sitting a few minutes ago had disappeared! Even the guide cannot explain what is happening. Decidedly, this is a very active region!
After these strong emotions, we continue sailing to Ujung Kulon National Park to observe the wild life there.
We shall always remember this extraordinary place, which has marked the memory of men and still continues to fascinate the world.
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