October 17 2022
We had a late departure from Jakarta and on our night sail through the Sundra Strait to Krakatua we were surrounded by continuous violent electrical storms . As if this wasn’t enough the Sundra Strait is a busy commercial waterway 24-7. At one point on my 0300-0600 watch I had 15 large ferries on AIS all predicted to come within 500 meters of Infinity within less than thirty minutes of each other. I found it staggering that at 4 in the morning thousands of people could be traveling between Sumatra and Java.
In this part of the world sail boats have no priority. It is “The bigger Boat” rule.
The stuff of legends: Krakatoa remains one of the world’s most well known volcanos due to its 1883 eruption. When it blew its top in 1883 over 36,000 Indonesians were killed . Pyroclastic flows crossed over 40 Km of ocean to incinerate parts of Sumatra and Java followed by a 40meter tsunami destroying over 100 villages . It’s explosion is still believed to have created the loudest noise ever recorded, being heard as far away as Perth Australia and Rodrigues island near Mauritius over 4500km away. The explosion obliterated the island leaving only parts of the rim and a 5 mile wide undersea caldera.
Then in the 20th century Krakatoa was reborn, Anat Krakatoa “Child of Krakatoa”, a new volcano emerged from the ocean covered caldera. Eventually reaching a height of 400 meters before in 2018 it exploded yet again creating another tsunami and killing over 200 people. Shrinking from 400 to 100 meters after the 2018 eruption it has started growing at a rate of 7 meters in height/year.
Anat Krakatoa is currently considered so active that the government has forbidden any development on the island or adjacent islands. All tourist boat trips have been canceled . So we have the privilege of visiting Anat Krakatua all alone😀.
We arrived in the morning and anchor in a well protected arm of the original Krakatoa east rim. There was one sleepy fishing boat where the young crew are mending their fishing nets. I had a great sense of privilege to be anchoring in this special place virtually all alone. At first I thought it was just me but the rest of the crew were equally mesmerized and later Elena told me it was extraordinarily special, the absolute highlight of her trip.
It is hard to understand why a volcano should elicit such feelings but I literally felt as if I had a connection to the center of our world. It took several hours of quiet contemplation absorbing the immensity of our surroundings before any of us were ready to jump in the dingy and go personally explore Anat Krakatoa. We spent the next two hours climbing and inspecting the new volcano then circumnavigated her in our dingy before heading back to Infinity.
Infinity’s trip to Java and Krakatoa was a big departure from the OWR fleet who by now were all in Australia’s beautiful Cocos Keeling islands. We all agreed the detour had been well worth it. As we were preparing to leave we met Jim and Stephanie on “Right Choice” who were following our itinerary in a classic canoe stern sloop . We will no doubt see them later on our travels.
That evening we set sail on the 600 mile trip to rejoin the fleet in the Cocos Keeling islands. Here we hope for a few days of relaxation before setting out on our arduous Indian Ocean crossing to Mauritius.