Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sat 1 Sep 2012 07:55
Krakatoa blew up in 1873 (I think, I don’t have access to the web). 36,000 people died, mostly from tsunamis and the world’s weather was affected for years. Much of the large island was thrown into the atmosphere but three sections round the old coast remained to become new isolated islands surrounding a large crater full of seawater up to 100 metres deep. In 1927 a new volcanic island appeared in the centre, Anak Krakatoa, daughter of Krakatoa, and she is growing very healthily. Parts of the lower slopes are already forested and there is a pretty anchorage with good holding in black sand close to the ranger station and the path to the top.
We sailed from Belitung in the company of Sunflower threading our way past small islands and shallow patches, shipping, oil and gas fields and the busy Sunda Strait. There, with little wind and trying to sail slowly so as to arrive after daybreak, we were swept through between the ferries at increasing speed with a current and tidal stream under us. It all took a little less than two days and we arrived just after dawn with Anak Krakatoa glowing orange all along the rim of the crater and belching fire and brimstone into the lightening sky. She carried on grumbling and moaning all the morning and our climbing party was not permitted to go further than half way up the lava slope. Quite far enough methinks. We had a quiet, relaxing day visiting the island, swimming, sorting out a few niggles, getting the skipper’s hair cut on the aft deck and imbibing some more bubbly. To JJ Moon’s great satisfaction we found that Sunflower had earmarked Krakatoa as another significant bubbly stage. We left our friends the next morning, they to head off in a few days to Chagos for deserted atolls while we poke our noses out into the ocean towards Cocos Keeling. We hope to meet again on Mauritius.
The Indian Ocean welcomed us with a few of its well-known tricks. The western end of the Sunda Strait has a reputation for increasing wind and confused seas as far as 50 miles off-shore. The wind picked up to 25 to 30 knots and the seas, although not high, were very irregular. However, we could lay the course and, well reefed down with the sheets just eased, we were flung at 8.5 knots directly towards Cocos. After midnight it began to moderate and currently (lunch time Saturday 1) conditions could hardly be better although the swell from the south is a bit of a nuisance. We sailed 178 miles, noon to noon. Although not quite a record for us, not bad.
I had forgotten what a pleasure it is when far from land out in the open ocean to find birds swooping, soaring and skimming the waves close to the boat.