Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gunung Krakatoa Erupts!

Gunung Krakatoa
coordinates 06.08.551S,105.25.461E

Famous for being one if not the loudest recorded explosion in history, Gunung (Mount) Krakatoa blew itself nearly to extinction in 1883. Sending ash as far as Singapore and tsumami waves as far as Aden in the Red Sea in a mere 12 hours. A distance that great would take a steam ship 12 days. It is nestled between the islands of Java and Sumatra. In the caldera of the old volcano is a beautiful anchorage that allowed the Kelly's on s/v Moorea and us to anchor for a couple of nights and be treated
to one of the worlds true wonders. After a tumultuous sail in which we blew out both our spinnaker halyard and the webbing to our head sail, we limped our way into the anchorage at sunset and managed to anchor in the dark. Something we try not to do often especially in such unfamiliar and uncharted territory. The currents and winds were so strange in this setting that both vessels put out bow and stern anchors and still had to raft up together to make sure we didn't bump each other unintentionally
at night. As we did enter the bay that evening we could see Anak Krakatoa, or the child of Krakatoa in Indonesian. It is a second volcano that has grown up two miles away in the shadow of it's father. A classic looking volcano if ever there was one complete with the open crater on top, though rather quiet and dormant we heard for the last few years.

We awoke the next morning to check out our new surrounding in day light. The plan was to repair our new projects and possibly take a hike up the volcano, which our guide books say, "An average overweight cruiser could do in just over an hour". We were in. Plans change though, and just as Bruce entered the cockpit of the boat for that morning stretch, Kaboom! Anak Krakatoa erupted a new crater right out it's southern side. We grabbed cameras and video's to try to capture the event. We were stunned.
Unbelievably, we watched as rock, ash and lava shot hundreds of feet into the air, creating majestic mushroom clouds, sending boulders to the sea and slides of earth down it's sides. The sounds would echo in our chests and eardrums. Simply amazing. After that initial explosion, it continued throughout the entire day on regular intervals sending plumes of smoke into the sky and the occasional land slide to the sea. It certainly kept us entertained as we tried to focus and finish the work we needed
to do. That night we all had dinner together and were pleasantly surprised again to get a continued show with eruptions of red lava up into the dark night sky. If that wasn't enough, Mother Nature added a lightning show for the Grand Finale. With all the lightning and storms came rain which we tried to capture. I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised when we tasted it only to find it to be acid rain. The taste was terrible and it would take the varnish off the table if you let a drop sit
too long.

Though we could have sat there and been mesmerized by the display for days, our projects were completed and it was time to head on down the road. In hindsight, how blessed that it blew when it did. We were fortunate in many ways with this stop. If it had delayed itself by even a few hours we would have been hiking up it and had a much more close and personal look that we would have liked. How wonderful to have the opportunity to witness such and event.
until next time,
your Ohana Kai crew

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