It’s a gloomy morning here…well, not so gloomy when the lightning serves to brighten things up a bit. I have a day off, and we’re heading to South Dakota to visit my grandma, who turned 97 in March (the day the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan). We plan to visit with her for an hour or two this afternoon, then rinse and repeat tomorrow morning before heading back…just a quick there-and-back-again.
Today we make for the body of water between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Philippines. We have visited this area before during times of war and we’ll be back again. But if you had in the Sunda Strait on May 20, 1883, things wouldn’t have looked as they do now. At that time Krakatoa, Indonesia was comprised of 3 small islands – Krakatoa, Verlaten, and Lang – with Krakatoa being, by far, the largest of the three. If you visit the area today, the three islands are still there, but two-thirds of Krakatoa is gone. And that’s because in August of 1883, the island blew itself apart in one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. But that’s old news to you all as we’ve discussed it in this forum.
On this day in 1883, the sleeping giant woke up when Perbuatan, the northermost volcanic cone – and one of three cones on the island – began venting steam. To be sure, there had been hints and portents that this day would arrive. Earthquakes and rumblings had been giving warning to locals for years that the volcano was stirring. But this was was the first real volcanic activity. And as we know, it would not be the last until those cataclysmic days in August.