“Volcanology Tourism” at Cracatoa

by emshol

Most of us have probably ever heard about Cracatoa (Krakatau), a well known mount in Sunda Strait, Indonesia. In August 1883, this mount exploded terrifyingly, causing 30 meters-height tsunami in Java and Sumatra, killing more than 36,000 people. Simon Winchester, a British journalist for National Geographic named that day “The Day the World Exploded”. It is not only Cracatoa that exploded, but the whole world.

Cracatoa explosion is one of the greatest disasters in the world. Its volcanic materials covers atmosphere, reaching south and north pole. It obscured the atmospheric view and decreased 1 oC temperature of Globe. Wincehester said its explosion sound reached Australia.

Behind its frightening image, Cracatoa today is a beautiful and unique tourism site. In Indonesia, it is the only volcanic mount located in the sea. Moreover, it is the only mount that offers “volcanology tourism”. Almost every year Cracatoa explodes and erupts volcanic materials, lasting for several weeks or months. We can see and hear the explosion from one kilometer distance. Here we can experience volcanic explosion atmosphere. Its frightening boom sounds just like a bomb come out from a hollow in the earth, strike our chest hard.

Watching Cracatoa closely is just like watching a documentary film on National Geographic channel. After its big explosion, Cracatoa vanished, leaving three small islands behind: Rakata, Panjang, and Sertung. No plant or animal left behind. They were totally burnt by melting magma.

Today, Cracatoa islands is completely different. They are green with beautiful scenery. After its explosion in 1883, the plants grew little by little. Scientists believe that the plants originate form seeds that was brought by the water from nearby islands. Not only flora, in Cracatoa islands we can also find fauna, like lizards. Like the seeds, they also come from nearby islands, swimming across the sea.

In 1927, a very small island (more correctly, a pile of sand) appeared right in the middle of the three islands. It was called Anak Krakatau (Son of Cracatoa). It grew bigger and bigger, day by day. Almost every year it erupted and accumulated its volcanic material. And today Anak Krakatau is a big, strong volcanic mountain in Sunda Strait, surrounded by three islands: Rakata, Panjang, and Sertung. Today it reaches 315 meter height above sea level. In Cracatoa, we can see how new plants grow and propagate, from foot to the slope of mountain. Its pattern is just like hair in a bald head.

Cracatoa is a favorite site for photographers, especially when it explodes. If we want to take photograph of Cracatoa explosion, Rakata Island is the best place to do in the night. Under sunlight, material explosion just seem to be grey sand and stone. But, in the night they glow, just like ember.

Cracatoa can be reached from beaches in Lampung (Sumatra) or Banten (Java). There are many tour agencies that provide trip packet to Cracatoa. If we reach Cracatoa from Banten, we can start the trip form Carita or Anyer beach.

Tour agencies usually offer trip to Cracatoa and Ujung Kulon in one packet. Ujung Kulon is another exotic site to visit near Cracatoa. It offers beautiful sceneries of green forest and beaches with white sand. In Ujung Kulon we can also find some exotic species of flora and fauna, like merak (a kind of bird) and banteng (wild bull) in their habitat. If we are in luck, we can also find java rhino, an endangered species that only live in Ujung Kulon.

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4 thoughts on ““Volcanology Tourism” at Cracatoa

  1. ohtrie said: How about Pulau Umang, may in other time you describe it

    I’ve myself never been there but I once saw it from Sumur beach. It’s a small Island. In my opinion, what makes it interesting to visit is that because it has a resort : )

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