Krakatoa - Sunda Strait, 1992
Credit goes to my high school geography teacher, Bruce Johnson at what was then called Jakarta International School, for planning and coordinating the end-of-semester field trip to visit Anak Krakatoa. The things I learned in the class and on the field trip in many ways helped me develop many of the basic navigation and terrain-reading skills I would later come to depend on in my experiences in the Cascades and beyond. 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 task was to perform a variery of science-based observations and measurements concerning the island's reemergence from the sea starting back in 1927.
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. Once there 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.
Looking back, I was surprised to see a "forest" of sorts that had established itself at the edge of the otherwise inhospitable island. As we neared the crater, the scenery took on an increasingly lunar-like appearance and I was again awed this time by a small canyon feature we had to cross in order to reach the summit. Looking around from up on top, the islands visible in the distance - Krakatau, Verlaten, and Lang - are apparently part of an earlier pre-416 A.D. volcano. It is belived that collapse of the existing caldera destroyed this volcano and formed a new 4-mile wide caldera in its place. A subsequent eruption and caldera collapse in 1883 produced one of the largest explosions on Earth in recorded time and destroyed much of the 'second' Krakatau island, leaving only the remnant on top which I was now standing.
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