thecayas vs. the volcano

This weekend, we finally went on our trip to KRAKATOA. Yes, it was awesome!

Saturday started early, with us getting up at 4 am to catch our van. It picked us up from home and drove toward the west coast of Java. From there, we caught a little speedboat out into the Sunda Straight and headed to the group of islands making up the Krakatoa area.

J ready to go (still wearing PJs)
J ready to go (still wearing PJs)
Enjoying some sun (also in PJs)
Enjoying some sun (also in PJs)

By about noon, we caught our first sight of the smoking beauty.

There she is, smoking in the distance - Anak Krakatoa
There she is, smoking in the far distance – Anak Krakatoa

Next door was another huge island, Rakata, originally part of the first Krakatoa, but half of the island was obliterated in the 1883 eruption.

And her sister, Rakata
And her sister, Rakata
Rakata up close - that giant crater is from the 1883 explosion
Rakata up close – that giant crater is from the 1883 explosion

As we got closer, we saw that Anak Krakatau was a bit smaller than we expected, but still huge considering she is only about 120 years old. We pulled up onto the banks of the island at the foot of the volcano.

We've arrived!
We’ve arrived!
Pulling up to the island... I wonder where we will stay tonight?
Pulling up to the island… I wonder where we will stay tonight?
...Right here!
…Right here!

While the guides were setting up our tents, we took the opportunity to explore the black sand beach and go for a swim.

It was a black sand beach - and as hot as lava!
It was a black sand beach – and as hot as lava!
White volcano rock against black volcano sand.
White volcano rock against black volcano sand.
Splashy girl
Splashy girl
The boys a-swimming
The boys a-swimming

So now that we were on Krakatoa, what else to do but climb it?? So we did. Both kids climbed it all by themselves! The whole experience was incredible.


Later that night, after dinner on the beach, we took a walk along the deserted coast – lit up by only the stars and moon. It was wild and beautiful.

In the morning, we cast off and visited a nearby lagoon for some snorkeling. It was especially great, because the coral reefs are relatively young and have grown up out of the completely obliterated crater area.


Then we hopped back in the boat to start our journey home. It was a perfect weekend!

*******

Now that you’ve seen all the highlights, let me give you a peek into our “off-camera” experience:

-When you camp in Indonesia, it means something different than we are used to in Canada. Yes, there were tents, but the only bedding we received were thin children’s play mats placed on the floor of the tent. No covers, no pillows, nothing. Luckily it is warm enough here that covers are totally unnecessary, but a bit of forewarning about pillows would have been nice. So, the makeshift pillows we had consisted of: 1 mostly empty backpack, 1 wet backpack, and 1 hiking boot. LittleB took the empty backpack, I got the wet one, and B had the boot. J slept mostly on my face. It was a rough night.

-After we spent the whole weekend taking awesome photos and protecting our camera like it was a dragon horde, B managed to snag the camera on the edge of the dock while disembarking – then the strap broke and we watched our treasure fall to the bottom of the marina! The marina water was not too deep, but it was filled with jellyfish. Luckily, we were able to pay one of our boat crew kids to jump in there and get it. Good thing it is an underwater camera!

-While visiting the island, we saw at least 3 giant monitor lizards coming right up to the campsites. It was amazing. Unfortunately, they were mostly just coming and eating garbage. So 99.8% of the pictures we have of them are just lizards sitting in piles of garbage. Classy.

Monitor lizard visiting our campsite - our only good photo without garbage
Monitor lizard visiting our campsite – our only good photo without garbage

-What do you do with two bored kids when you’re trapped on a volcanic island? Well, letting them “help” the cooks is good. We were having squid and shrimp for dinner, so first they watched all the shrimp heads get cut off. Then they started an assembly line for preparing squid – the guy pulls out the guts, LittleB rolls all the skin off, J puts the body into a bucket of dirty water. The only problem was that LittleB wiped all the leftover bits of squid skin onto his pants. That’s never coming out.

-What do you do with two bored kids when you’re trapped in a van for 5 hours? Well, telling a bunch of stories that all end with someone getting poked in the eyeball and dying is good for at least half an hour.

-Volcanic sand is neat. It’s black and fine. But it turns out that, not unlike other sand, it gets everywhere, but unlike other sand, because it’s black, you can see it everywhere: in hair, in swimsuits, in shoes, in bum cracks. Walking up a 70-degree incline of the stuff is also not easy. Every step slides you back down and fills your shoes with dirt and gravel. At the bottom of the hill, LittleB dumped out what he pretty accurately described as “almost half of the volcano.” I’m still finding sand in places where no sand should be.

It was still a perfect weekend!

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