Krakatoa - Sunda Strait, 1992
Krakatoa as seen from the air (Photo courtesy of and copyrighted by Robert Decker).

My primary reason for enrolling in high school geography was for the scheduled field trip towards the end of the semester. Teacher, Bruce Johnson did an excellent job in keeping us focused with his refreshingly unique and casual style of instruction. It would end up being perhaps the one take-away from high school that helped inspire basic orientation skills, awareness of one's surroundings and a deeper knowledge of the geology of a given area. I can't help but think that these lessons in some way prepared me for the climbs and trips into the backcountry I do today.

Needless to say, the entire class was very excited to discover that this year's field trip would take place on the small volcanic island of Anak Krakatoa, located in the Sunda Straits between the islands of Java and Sumatra (Indonesia). Our mission was to observe, measure and report on the growth of the island (it first emerged from sea in 1927) and eventual colonization by plants and animals. (Photos: SV and others)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
View from beach
We loaded up the boat and left Tanjung Priok (or was it Ancol?), Jakarta's major port at some point in the morning or early afternoon and traveled through the night to reach the shores of Anak Krakatoa that following morning. We dropped anchor and took a ride in the Zodiac to reach the beach.
Volcanic slopes
Gathering on the beach we broke into teams to each study some aspect of the island's volcanic past, present and future. The big highlight of the day would be to hike up to the summit and peer into the still very active, though at the time somewhat 'dormant' caldera. Before long, we broke out of the trees and began ascending slopes of pulverized lava and pumice.
Above the new forest
Looking back at the young "forest" that has established itself at the edge of the island. The islands in the distance were part of the original pre-416 A.D. volcano.
Valley near crater
As we neared the crater, the scenery took on an increasingly lunar-like appearance. I was surprised to discover a "valley" of sorts shortly before the final pitch to the summit.
Main crater
Looking into the main crater.

In about 416 A.D., caldera collapse destroyed the volcano and formed a 4-mile wide caldera. The islands of Krakatau, Verlaten, and Lang are remnants of this volcano. The eruption and collapse of the caldera in 1883 produced one of the largest explosions on Earth in recorded time and destroyed much of Krakatau island, leaving only a remnant.
Looking Rakata Island
Standing on the summit. Rakata, a remnant of the volcano prior to the 1883 eruption is visible in the background.
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