05/26/2014 – 326 days/28203 miles

The last stop in Sumatra was in Kalianda, which is the the jumping off point for seeing Krakatau.

For the last big day of riding in Sumatra, we still had the great landscapes and scenery that we’d come to love here…jungles, rice paddies in the valleys, and wonderful beaches, which provide a nice swimming break in the middle of long riding days.
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Based on the number of fishing boats around Kalianda, it’s clear that it must be one of their main industries
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The main attraction in Kalianda is tours of Krakatau.
We found a fisherman that brought us out there for a day. It’s about a two hour boat ride from town.

Seeing Krakatau, and trying to imagine what it looked like in the past was pretty wild. The island (Anuk Krakatau – Child of Krakatau) that we visited didn’t even exist until 1927. Up until 1883, there was one large island consisting of three volcanic peaks. In 1883, the Krakatau eruption was strong enough to destroy the three peaks that made up the island (and loud enough to be heard 3,000 miles away). What’s left today (of that original island) is half of one of the three peaks…the rest was wiped off the map. This is what’s left of that original island, as seen from Anuk Krakatau.

evolution of krakatauIn 1927, eruptions in the area started again, and Anuk Krakatau broke through the surface, forming a new island, which has been growing ever since (currently 813m, and recent growth has been about 7 meters per year)
This gif from Wikipedia is a simple way to see how things in the area have changed over the last ~130 years.

Back near Kalianda, at the guesthouse we were staying at, there was a small vent about 30 meters out from the ocean front, and a mini-crater around the vent forming perfect hottub-like seating. This vent that heats the water also formed in 1927, during the volcanic event that started the formation of the Anuk Krakatau island.

Other than a small ring of trees around the base of the volcano, the whole thing is pretty much void of any life. It’s only sand and rock.
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At the top, looking into the crater, the air immediately smells incredibly sulphury, and the temperature goes up by about 10 degrees.
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There’s not much more to say about Krakatau…There’s the sayings about pictures not doing justice to the real thing, which apply to those situations where the visual experience you have by being there can’t be recreated by a photo. But on Krakatau it was a bit more extreme. It wasn’t just a visual thing. The whole experience of standing on a 800m peak that is not even 100 years old and still growing, and has erupted in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and could go again any day is really strange…words and pictures can’t explain it.

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