Monday, November 5, 2018

Sorry I blew up

I'm pretty sure that's what the volcano Anak Krakatau would say if it could talk. As we made our way south towards the Sunda Straight and Krakatau, we had heard that it was erupting. A quick check on the internet showed it was a '4' (out of 5), and that a 2 kilometer exclusion zone had been established.  That meant that we wouldn't be able to actually land on the island. We also knew that volcanic ash is nasty stuff to get on the boat. We decided to visit anyway because the prevailing winds should have kept the ash off our boat and even if we couldn't get on the island, the sights would hopefully be worth it.

It turned out to be an amazingly memorable stop.  Anak Krakatau performed non-stop while we were there. We were treated to fantastic views of the erupting volcano--especially overnight. We weren't able to get any good pictures from the boat of the night eruptions, but they were spectacular as glowing lava and rocks were flung over the entire mountainside every few minutes. We were so close that we could feel the rumbling. One time one of the explosions sent out such a shock wave that it made everyone's ears pop. There were truck-sized boulders rolling down the side and every so often a chunk would make it on the fly into the sea. 

Unfortunately, when you anchor next to an 'ash hole', you shouldn't be surprised if you get dumped on. After behaving all day as forecasted, the wind shifted for just a few minutes, but it was enough to cover the boat in heavy ash.

As it turned out, we got plenty of rain to rinse the boat on our passage up the west coast of Sumatra. We had so many thunderstorms that seemed to pop up out of nowhere (usually in the middle of the night) that it was hard not to take it personally. Our three-night voyage stretched into four as we spent hours and miles dodging and running away from the especially lightning-ridden storms that appeared to cling to us like that smothering cartoon dog. Some of the blinding, gut-shaking lightning would hit the water and bounce spectacularly back up into the sky. After several nights of this, we ended up taking a breather and enjoyed a good night's sleep at Sikakap Town on Pagai-utara.

That left just a quick 60 miles to get to the next island north and hopefully hook up with our friends on Field Trip. After a pre-dawn departure, we caught our first mahi-mahi (about 20 pounds and three feet long) in a while. This was after losing something big that almost spooled the reel before breaking the 150 lb test line. As the sun was getting ready to set, we rolled into the anchorage on N Sipura and had the hook down just in time before darkness closed in. We could hear the thunderstorms in the distance and were glad to be at anchor for the night.


  1. Krakatau....what an experience!!

  2. Incredibly cool volcano...I mean hot. Given I got buzzed years ago, I could do without the spectacular lightning show though. Excellent adventures as always.


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