Climbing an Active Volcano (Krakatau)
Hey, it’s been so long since I last blogged! My apologies for the silence. I’ve been doing some freelance video work (yes I’m a freelance videographer!) and writing new music. I also have a new music collaboration that I’m very happy about, it’s very hard to find people you work well with and I’m super glad to have clicked with this person. But more info on that next time 😉
Meanwhile, I am here to entertain you with random stories with a reeeeally tenuous link to music, ha ha. Over the Easter long weekend, some friends and I went on a trip to climb the volcano, Krakatau (Indonesia, between Java and Sumatra).
Quick intro: In 1883, the volcano Krakatau exploded, blowing up its neighbouring volcanic islands and leaving only half standing where three stood previously. It also caused a tsunami that was massive and killed 36,000 people. 50 years later Anak Krakatau, a smaller volcanic island, emerged. Apparently it’s been growing 4m every year. It’s very much active and the last activity was just last month. Anak Krakatau is where my friends and I hiked and camped overnight on this trip.
We had a tour guide arrange everything for us, and I must say he did an excellent job. He had us picked up from the airport at 11pm, and after the 3h+ drive to Carita where he stays, it was 3am and he let us sleep in his house, on mattresses. His wife even served us tea/coffee and some homemade banana fritters in the morning. Such a kind family!
This is our guide, Samsoel. He took care of everything for us and made sure we were well provided for. You have no idea how much you’ll appreciate having soft tissues at hand until you’re stuck on an island with no modern amenities.
Our first stop was Rakata Island (1.5h from Carita by boat). Once also a volcanic island, it’s now dormant, and really only half of it is left after the massive Krakatau explosion that blasted off its other half and the other two volcanic islands as well. Now Rakata is covered in lush greenery and a thriving ecosystem thanks to the nutrients from the lava flows.
Samsoel brought us to see cool stuff on the island, like lava boulders and charcoal walls.
After the nature walk, we went back to the beach and had lunch. There, we saw some other friendly island inhabitants.
This monitor lizard was so old, he couldn’t even find the chicken bones my friend threw to him. They ended up getting found by another younger monitor lizard. At least they didn’t go to waste!
Next, we headed to Anak Krakatau.
This volcanic island is called Anak Krakatau, or ‘Child of Krakatau’, because it emerged from the spot where the original Krakatau was. Kind of easier than thinking up a new name for it too, I suppose.
One thing’s for sure: Anak Krakatau is beautiful.
After playing around a lot, jamming on a ukulele and a kompang (Indonesian hand drum) (I told you this post was related to music! !!), and napping, it was evening. Like 30 minutes before sunset, we decided we would hike up the volcano.
“Just wear your slippers, it’s okay,” says our guide cheerily. We all wore slippers (that’s flip-flops, btw). As we went up, we passed an earlier group – all wearing hiking shoes. Wonderful.
We didn’t make it to the crater rim because it’s too dangerous to go there now. People are only allowed to hike there when the volcano isn’t very active. And it’s been active very recently, as I mentioned.
Also, it was getting dark really fast… so we had to slip-slide our way down very fine ash particles with increasingly poor vision. In slippers. What an adventure.
Happily, on our return we were rewarded with a most deliciously cooked meal by Samsoel and his crew.
We ate like kings. And slept in tents on mattresses. Subsequently getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. (We did bring insect repellant, but…)
Oh, another discovery we made was that there was a SPRING WATER SHOWER on the island. So we could bathe in mineral water! It was super cool. No pics of bathing, tho, sorry.
The next morning we took another quick hike up the volcano to see a massive tephra boulder, and a seismic activity recorder, neither of which I photographed because I was just dying of heat. After packing up camp, we took a boat ride around the island, and hit some snorkeling spots (actually we went to one on the first day too – tons of snorkeling).
It was a really awesome and fun trip (especially with friends). Samsoel especially was an excellent guide, if you’re interested in doing this trip too you can contact him through his website. Go in a group so it’s cheaper per pax.
I have to say though, camping on an island with no amenities isn’t for everybody, some might find it a bit too rough. For us, we all enjoyed it, but we were super grateful also to check into a hotel the next day and have a good shower and a nice bed to sleep in!