Monday, 28 July 2008

Big Bang

The loudest ever recorded bang occured in 1883 when the volcano Krakatoa blew itself apart and sent a 40m tsunami crashing against the shores of Sumatra and Java. It threw up a column of ash 80km into the sky which rained down on land as far away as singapore. It is now a shadow of its former self and no longer active, however, Anak Krakatoa is slowly taking its place on the list of celebrity volcanoes and was the destination of our trip.

After an hour and a half crashing over waves in a speed boat we saw the shape of Krakatoa in the distance and next to it was the pretty unimpressive height of Anak Krakatoa. It may have been short in stature (it only appeared 80 years ago so is pretty young in the grand scheme of things) but it is fierce and shouldn't be underestimated!

Withing ten minutes of us spotting it this baby volcano it spewed out a cloud of smoke and ash a couple of km into the sky and as we got closer we saw the glowing rocks that it was regularly threw out. After each episode it calmed down and then as if by clockwork it started belching smoke and ash again. Truly amazing to watch.

We then pulled the boat up to the beach to have a wander on the slopes of the volcano (not too close to the top obviously). Everything was covered in a thick layer of ash and the landscape had an eerie feel to it. Amazingly some hardy plants are able to survive there! We were soon also covered in ash too. We were half expecting the ground to shake as the volcano geared up for its next eruption but the place was spookily still and quiet until the calm was broken by an almighty bang. Time to make an exit.

We washed ourselves in the clear blue waters next to the original Krakatoa and donned masks and snorkels to have a look at the underwater life. What a great day!

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