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Krakatoa Volcano – Exploring the deadliest volcano in the world

The wind had blown up from the opposite direction that morning as we started a boat ride from Carita village towards Sunda Strait. This will be two hours boat ride to our destination Child of Krakatoa Volcano. Sea weathered into a high wave, making the two outboard engines in our boat was roaring hard a couple of times, pretty bumpy boat ride. The boat’s captain tried to convince us,” when we got into the open sea, normally the wind shifted and the wave will be a lot better”. Turned out he was right.

The boat was running smoothly after that, moving to the blue horizon. An hour later the Krakatoa Archipelago was slowly visible.  It is a small uninhabited archipelago of volcanic islands formed by the Krakatoa stratovolcano, located some 160 kilometers west of Jakarta. As of 2018, the archipelago consists of four main islands: Sertung, Panjang, Rakata, and the currently volcanically active Anak Krakatoa. Together consist of four Islands.

In 1883, Krakatau volcano erupted in one of the biggest blasts in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis and lowering the global surface temperature by 1 degree Celsius with its ash. The eruption and the tsunami it caused have been remembered as one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.

What we see today is the volcanic island of “Child of Krakatau” that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

Rakata Island, the biggest Island of Krakatoa Archipelago

In Dec 2018, after a series of violent eruptions, the southwestern flank of the volcano was slid into the ocean. The sudden displacement of the ocean from this landslide resulted in a tsunami, which rapidly traveled across the strait to Java and Sumatra, claiming over 430 lives. According to Indonesia’s disaster agency there are at least 1,500 injured, over 120 people still missing, and around 12,000 people have been displaced.

The Anak Krakatoa now shrank to almost a third its original height, from 338 meters to 110 m. Eruptive activity at the mountain had subsided since then. These days the crater of Anak Krakatau is only a meters away from the sea levels with a constant white thick smoke spewing from it.

When I visited this Island a couple of years ago after a diving trip around that area, the cone of Anak Krakatoa was pretty intimidating and powerfully stunning at the same time with the spewing sand, smoke, and ash into the sky also frequent huge explosions from the crater.  

Beautiful yet spooky

We asked our boat captain to circumnavigate the island, slowing down the speed then finally reached on the crater side, which very close with surface, and continuously spewing thin white smoke. It was just beautifully eerie. Despite the beautiful sky and calm seawater, the ambience felt mysterious, quiet and eerie, realizing down there at the center of magma chamber the volcano is still in process of gathering its pressure with might gradually fracture the rock around it, creating a way for the magma to move upward to the surface. However, it might take years until the pressure from the magma chamber could create an event like the one on December 22, 2018.

Then our boat stopped by at the nearby island, Rakata Island, the biggest island on this little archipelago. A beautiful white sand beach with thick vegetation and hill as a background. A nice place to chill out and having some refreshment. We met a dozen of fishermen from nearby islands who just took some rest after days of fishing.

And it was just hard to resist for not jump into the beautiful blue seawater there. But unfortunately the coral reefs in front of the beach was severely damaged. Local fishermen said, “It is because the 2018’s tsunami.”  Well for sure it will take some time before it is fully recovered. Despite all those catastrophic this little archipelago, especially the child of Krakatoa Island is never lost its charm.

Plan your weekend adventure with us, and find the activity that fits you! It’s short, it’s adventurous and it’s refreshing though not too far away from Jakarta.