Tag Archives: volcanism

Montserrat: half-paradise, half-ghost-isle.

Hi folks!

Next up, Montserrat, aka, the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean.

Brief main info: This is another British Overseas Territory. Population: ~5000. Again, the locals don’t live too high on the hog; however, the island has a pleasant climate and outward appearance, which makes it a hit with foreigners who live very high on the hog and who like to visit, as can be seen from all the very nice houses and villas (from a helicopter).

Read on…

Lesser Antilles No. 2: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Hi folks!

As promised, herewith, the next islands of the Lesser Antilles. Next up: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

This is another sovereign state, made up of Saint Vincent and – surprise, surprise – the Grenadines. The former is relatively large, covering some 300+km²; the latter is made up of dozens of small and tiny islands, all of which are extraordinarily beautiful – one of them being Mustique.

Read on…

New Year further from the center, part 3: Indonesia over and out.

Hi folks!

Herewith, as promised, a brief summary of our recent Indonesian New-Year adventure.

We scaled seven volcanoes (Merapi, Arjuno–Welirang–Kembar, Bromo, Ijen, Kelimutu), saw four dizzying dawns from volcano peaks, stayed on five Indonesian islands, bathed in two seas and one volcanic lake, photographed three orangutans and many a Komodo dragon, swam with manta fish and untold quantities of other marine life, ate tons of local exotic super-fresh fruits, flew four inter-island flights (in addition to the flights to Indonesia and back), and spent countless hours on buses and 4x4s (covering 1300km on… hazardous roads). In a word: phew!

Already back home, I thought I’d dig around on the internet to see what I could find on the volcanoes we climbed. And there was plenty…

Bromo:

Kelimutu:

In all, 18 days (not including getting there and back). A extraordinary expedition. So if you have a bit of a soft spot for volcanism – make sure to get here one day; you won’t be disappointed!

Read on…

The blue eyes of Kelimutu.

The final volcano on our Indonesia trip was Kelimutu on the island of Flores. Just one look at a photo of this volcano and you’ll guess the distinctive feature that makes it an extra special volcano: its differently (brightly) colored volcanic lakes that sit in its three calderas. Kelimutu for sure helped ‘Indonesian volcanoes’ earn their place on my Top-100 Must-See Places in the World (No. 72). I don’t think much commentary is needed here. As per custom when I encounter off-the-scale natural beauty, I’ll let the photos do the talking…

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Ijen’s yellow smoke: not for all folk.

Hi folk!

Onward we march on our Indonesian ‘volcation‘. Next up: Ijen – our sixth volcano in as many days. Not a bad result considering all the necessary short flights and driving (on not the best of roads with not the best drivers in the world) to get from place to place. We managed it by being on the road by day, and doing the volcano climbing by night. To some that adds up to touristic masochism. To us: tourism at the correct tempo ).

Ijen was no less pleasing than the other volcanoes. This one’s particularly awesome features: a bright turquoise crater-lake, powerful fumaroles, and bright yellow air sulfur resin and smoke…

Read on…

Bromo in slo-mo.

Hi folks!

Right after the Penanjakan morning mist show, our guides took us to one of the main volcanoes that contributed to that show: Mount Bromo, Gunung Bromo in Indonesian:

During the dawn show, it was here:

So what can I say about it? This is getting a bit broken record, but… – it was yet another implausibly fantastical sight to behold! Satellite pics of it look… oh my Gunung, but up close it was simply… oh my GREATEST (caps intentional)!

Read on…

Volcanic dawn mist – not to be missed.

I never did quite work out what this place in Indonesia was called. Is it Penanjakan? And is that the name of the peak, or just the name of the tourist spot near it? Whatever, who cares? Well, for one, a person standing on/at Penanjakan and looking up at the stars – he/she for sure does not care one iota).

How do you like the photo? I’m rather fond of it. A still-life, don’t you think?

It and the ones below weren’t all that difficult to shoot. I placed my camera (a Sony A9) on a reinforced concrete wall, set the shutter speed to 20 seconds, the diaphragm to 6 (or was it 9?), and ISO – to… something (can’t remember, or maybe I just guessed: it has a lot of buttons and blinking lights:). And that was that: done! All that remained was to wait for the sunrise…

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New Year further from the center, pt. 2.

After our starter-course Indonesian volcanism, it was time to move on swiftly to the main course. Next up for us – a full bouquet of volcanism. The precise number of volcanoes depends on what source you rely on: Russian Wikipedia states it’s just one volcano, Arjuno; English Wiki says it’s a pair of volcanoes – Arjuno-Welirang; while locals say it’s a collection of four volcanoes, since there are four volcanic cones at the very top. Admittedly, from the side it looks like just one volcanic formation, as it does from up above too.

Here we are approaching the very top, after two days of trekking:

Read on…

+1 Volcano climb: Merapi.

Hi folks!

Acclimatization completed, it’s time to finally get stuck into Indonesia’s volcanism, of which there’s rather a lot – as in: hundreds of volcanoes!

Indonesia could be described as simply a huge collection of volcanoes, many of which regularly erupt, many of which are extremely (symmetrically) beautiful, aka – must-see!

Some sources say there are around 300 volcanoes, some – around 400, others – around 500! That’s quite a margin of error! But it’s to be expected: they’re difficult to count. Example: a volcanic mass with three or four distinct conical peaks: does that count as one, or three/four?

‘Active’ volcanoes are counted separately, but again there are differences in the totals as there’s no fixed definition of an active volcano. Anyway, in Indonesia there are around 75 to 130, depending on the source on the internet you look up.

Whichever total you take, there’s no denying Indonesia is one seriously volcanic country. But then, of course it is: Indonesia is a segment of the islands (and peninsula) that help make up the Ring of Fire (together with its volcanic siblings like Japan, Kamchatka, the Kurils, New Zealand, etc.)

But enough of volcanic theory; time for some actual volcanic experience. All righty: in at the deep end – Mount Merapi: the most active volcano of Indonesia…

Read on…

Supervolcanical paradisiacal.

For those who missed the first Indonesian installment, a brief overview of its contents:

Sumatra, December, hot, humid, jungle, orangutans, monkeys; acclimatization: time-zone, climate, food, crazy driving.

All righty. Next up – still on Sumatra: Lake Toba.

I had real trouble finding the words to describe this place. I’ll plump for… paradisiacal!

This is a lake that’s some 900 meters above sea level and so has a real comfortable micro-climate: the air temperature is always around 20-25°C, while that of the pristine water of the lake is 25°C (we measured it ourselves). Yep: water warmer than the air! I sensed volcanism at work here, and indeed that’s just what it was: for Toba isn’t just the name of the lake, it’s also the that of the dormant supervolcano it sits in.

In short, the perfect setting for intense rest and relaxation. The views all around: oh my gorgeous; the bathing and the fishing in/on the lake: oh my great!

Read on…