Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ijen Crater - The Eye of Java

The day after exploring the volcanic wastelands of Mount Bromo, Angela and I rose early once again, this time to climb Ijen Crater, a volcano containing a one-kilometre-wide acid lake at its centre. Just like at Bromo, there were many spectacular views to enjoy as we approached the volcano, and the crater itself, with its turquoise colours and sulphurous aura, provided yet another awesomely alien-planet-like experience.

Our route by minivan from Mount Bromo to Ijen Crater, which is located right at the eastern end of Java.
It was still night-time as we drove into the national park.
We left our vehicle at a car park at the foot of the crater, and would have to hike the rest of the way on foot for an hour or two.
There was a well-worn path for most of the journey, though it got pretty steep at times.

Along the way we passed many of these miners who gather sulphur from within the crater and carry it in baskets all the way to a village several miles away. According to wikipedia, they make an average of five to eight dollars a day doing this.

Halfway up the crater's rim, we stopped at a little teahouse to rest and rehydrate.

Continuing the trek, with volcanoes in the background.

Walking above the clouds.

Almost at the crater's mouth.

The turquoise lake of acid.

These are the yellow sulphur mines where men gather minerals to sell in the villages.

We didn't stay in the crater for very long as our minivan was due to leave soon, so we quickly began our descent.

Entering the cloud layer.

It was still morning-time as we arrived at the port of Banyuwangi.
Our journey across Java was now complete, and it was time to move onto some smaller islands of Indonesia. From Banyuwangi we could already see Bali across the sea, a mere two or three miles away. We would pass through it on the way to our next destination, making for a long and tiresome journey, but one that took us to the most relaxing, perfect paradise we've found on this trip: the Gili Islands.

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