Monday, October 3, 2011

The Trip To The Volcano Named Krakatau, Or Also Known As Krakatoa

What I brought with me: mattress, dry bag (for camera and cellphone) and my backpack

I saw a movie about the 1883 eruption of Krakatau during the visit to Ende, East Nusa Tenggara. Besides showing the catastrophic impact (the eruption literally ripped the island into pieces, caused a giant tsunami and forced so many people fleeing their homes), the movie also tells that a new volcano emerges out of the ocean. It turned out to be the remnants of the old volcano that grows after the eruption. The new volcano is called Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau). Wow. Volcanoes do resemble phoenix, don't you think? They grow, spew hot lavas, disappear and regrow.

So when my colleague Dre told me he's going to go backpacking to Anak Krakatau Island a month ago, I went ecstatic. But after I read the packed itinerary, I chickened out. The itinerary said they would only visit a real bathroom once a day! Most of the trip would be on a boat! Ack. As tomboy as I can be, I still need a bathroom with four walls. And I have weak stomach when it comes to boat ride. Anyway, he later said that he only needed 15 people to go with him and the quota was fulfilled.

A few weeks passed, then he contacted me again, asking if I was still interested to join because one of the members just cancelled. He promised to watch guard when the nature called. So, it's a deal. Besides Dre and I, there were three other colleagues joining the band: Irw, Ipa and Lollapagoosa (all are nicknames, to protect the innocent).

Unfortunately, on Friday, I was assigned to interview Jusuf Kalla, chairman of Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and former Vice President. Like all officials, he was late *roars*. I arrived at the PMI headquarters five minutes before 10 a.m. and he came at 11 a.m. People were preparing for Friday prayer, and his assistant said I should wait until 2.30 p.m. Uh oh, this didn't sound good, my hunch said.

And I was right. I still waited at his door at 4 p.m. He finally let me in five minutes later, and 15 minutes later I left the building and ride ojek to the office to catch the deadline. After all the hassle, guess what my boss said? "Oh, that's not for tomorrow. Do this one instead."

I completed my job as quick as possible, bought vegetables for soup for the dinner in Krakatau and went with Irw to meet Dre, Dion (Dre's brother), Ipa, Tikki, Cipot and Lollapagoosa in Slipi Jaya. The other trip buddies departed from Kp. Rambutan bus terminal, and we're supposed to meet in Merak port.

From Slipi Jaya we had a bus ride to Merak that took 1.5 hours. I spent the time to compose the PMI piece. The others fall asleep or chatted. Since we arrived earlier than the other group, some ate, some went to toilet and I charged Ipa's BB with Tikki's charger.

When the rest of the group came (Mega, Oscar, Meidy, Ira R, Sisca and Ria), we quickly hopped on to the ferry boat, named Jatra I. It was past midnight when the ferry boat came. We took the business class and had to pay an extra Rp 6,000 after the Rp 11,500 we paid at the gate. As we took our seats, the musician started to play dangdut music on his keyboard at full blast. Traveling tips #1: Always bring earphone or ear plugs if you want peaceful ferry boat ride.

Having swallowed Antimo, a medicine for seasick, Oscar, Sisca and I fell asleep through the ride. We reached Bakauheni port, Lampung at 4.30 a.m, just 7 minutes before the call for dawn prayer. So some went to toilet, or bought something to eat, or did some stretching.

After the prayer, we took another ride with angkot (public minivan) to Canti, a small port serving boat ride to the Krakatau island and surrounding islands. It took 1.5 hours to reach Canti and I spent most of it doing the PMI piece with Ipa's help (I read, she typed, thanks darling!).

We had breakfast and a cup of hot tea, went to toilet, and changed into bathing suits in Canti. Then we took the boat ride to Sebuku island, where we snorkeled for about one hour. Not much to see, the visibility was terrible, plus the water was cold, so I only snorkeled for a while.

Approaching Sebuku. Courtesy of Lollapagoosa

From there we went to Umang-umang island, which has white sand, boulders and turquoise water. Ah so beautiful! I think the island is named Umang-umang island because there are so many umang-umang (hermit crab) here. Aren't they cute?

Can you spot hermit crabs in this picture?

The beach

It's painful to walk without your sandals here.

Umang-umang island 360. Courtesy of Ipa

We had lunch and a bath (real bathroom!) in Sebesi island. Then we headed straight to Anak Krakatau island. We put up our tent, started to cook (it resembled a MasterChef episode, hahaha) and then fell into a deep slumber. I was in one tent with Ria and Mega, but Mega preferred to sleep outside. Cipot took a spot right in front of our tent. The rest of the group stayed around the bonfires, singing mellow songs and throwing lame jokes.

Tent party at Anak Krakatau island. Watermelon anyone? :) Courtesy of Irw.

Some snippets that still gets me laughing:

#1. Situation: during the cooking time
Dion: Oscar darling?
Oscar: (did not answer)
A few minutes later...
Oscar: Dion darling?
Dion: Yes darling?
Oscar: Could you help me with the water gallon?
Dion: That was what I was going to ask you a few minutes ago. But you didn't answer me. Now look who needs help *in sarcastic tone*
All: laughed

#2. Situation: when we just reached Canti port
Cipot: Are you going to be embarrassed if I change into my bathing suit here?
Dre: No, Cipot. You should ask yourself: Am I going to be embarrassed if I change here.
Cipot changed anyway, but we didn't notice.

#3. Situation: still at Canti port, we're having breakfast
Cipot: So you're going to wear bikini, right?
Meydi: (almost got choked with her food) Why is that?
Cipot: Dude, that's the only reason I join this trip. I want to see you all girls in bikini.

As I laid myself inside the tent, I could hear the sound of cicadas, other nocturnal insects and the ocean wave going to the shore. It felt so peaceful and the next thing I heard was Mega waking us up for the hike to the ridge. Well, it's not exactly the summit, we needed to keep the safety distance because the volcano is still active as I'm writing this.

We began the hike at 4.45 a.m. I knew the exact time because I asked them to wait until the Subuh time. Slowly but sure, all of us but Ria, reached the ridge before the sunrise. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, so we didn't get a good sunrise photo.

Right there on the land covered by volcanic ash, Oscar unloaded her backpack and started to cook. Yep, you read it right. We brought our portable stove to the ridge! We had coffee, tea or chocolate, as well as instant noodle.

Krakatau 360. Courtesy of Ipa

More weird pose:P Courtesy of Lollapagoosa

Thanks for the breakfast, Chef Oscar!

What our feet looked like after the hike. That's my shoe over there. Courtesy of Irw

We would have stayed longer at the top, but more people were coming. They were very noisy, so we went back to the camping ground. We cooked more food, put down our tent and left the island for the next endeavor: Legon Cabe.

The others went snorkeling, but I stayed on the boat because the wave was so high. It was a good decision, though. Some went snorkeling but felt so nauseous they had to go to the shore and asked Mega to bring them water from the boat.

I'm not in the picture. But I love this picture because everyone looks so relaxed. That's what I call  holiday faces! Courtesy of Irw

Sunset at Canti. We joked that the two fishermen standing over there must be demi gods:P Naaah, there are rocks over there

Then we went to Sebesi island for another lunch and bath moment, before going back to Canti and later on, Bakauheni. The ferry boat from Bakauheni to Merak, named Dharma Kencana IX, was better than our first ferry boat. The seats were more comfortable, the boat even has sleeping cabins. There was juice bar and playground. When we took our seats, the TV was playing Maher Zain's Insya Allah (If God Willing). We didn't even have to pay extra ticket to be in the business class. Dharma Kencana IX, you rock!

Tikki and Ria made bunny ears for Dre :P

Oscar, Cipot and Ipa played cards in the sleeping cabin area

It's my room here! Ahahaha

Playground for the kids

Dangdut music for the entertainment

After we arrived in Merak, we took a bus to Kp. Rambutan. Some hopped off the bus during the ride, I made my stop in Cawang. Then I took angkot ride and reached my home at 2 a.m. on Monday morning. And that's all folks!

See you again, Anak Krakatau! Courtesy of Lollapagoosa

PS. I wrote a bit about Krakatau here.

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