Get up close and personal with Ibu and Dukono volcanoes in Halmahera
Indonesia lies on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, home to more than 130 active volcanoes, making the country a volcano hunter paradise. One of the best regions to do volcano hunting in Indonesia is in Halmahera Island. There are sixteen volcanoes on the Halmahera volcanic arc, many of which are still active, among them are Mt Dukono and Mt Ibu, which have been in persistent activity for years.
The journey started from the charming spice island Ternate, one of the northernmost of a line of Indonesian islands. This island is one of the few places in the world that is home to the Myristica Fragrans and the Caryophyllus Aromaticus, the fruits of which we know as nutmeg and clove.
From Ternate we took the speed boat ride to the west side of Halmahera, the largest island of the Moluccas, crossing the Moluccan Sea to the district of Jailolo. It was a 45 minutes speedboat ride in which we were pampered with a beautiful blue sky and the sight of Tidore and Gamalama volcanoes.
Our first target was Mount Ibu, the landmark mountain for the lands of Tabaru people, one of the native tribes on the North Moluccas. Currently standing at 1,325 meters above sea level and still growing. To get close to the crater, we climbed up along coconut plantations then dense jungle reaching the summit of this majestic volcano, we’re met by a spectacular active crater about one 1 kilometer wide and 400 m deep with the enormous plumes of smoke along with an impressive live eruption every 30 minutes or so. In clear weather, at night, we can see an amazing orange lava glow every time this happens. Camping at the outer rim, we were spoiled by the amazing display of fireworks on the crater during the night. The views and the sounds are utterly breathtaking.
At Mount Dukono, our second target, it was an even more thrilling experience. After passing the forest zone, we arrived at the plain of black volcanic sand, which is also known as an old crater, now considered the outer rim. A kind of tranquil place before we enter the large expanse of ancient lava flows, jagged in some places, plain and sandy in others, just like a surreal lunar landscape, unique and stunning. As we reached near the crater rim, we’re welcomed by a roar like jet planes taking off. What an amazing sight and the sound vibration was both frightening and fascinating at the same time, It’s like happy chemical, shoots up in our brain during that thrilling moment.
Looking at the active vent from the inner crater rim at Dukono and seeing the enormous plume of smoke at Ibu is indeed spectacularly breathtaking. It is the multiple days-volcano adventure that could stand out in our memory as amazing volcano hunting experiences.