The famous eruption of Cracatoa on August 26, 1883 sent up a plume of ash and pumice 26 kilometers high and 6,000 kilometers wide, and the explosion could be heard from Myanmar to Australia. The huge tidal waves created by the explosion destroyed 165 villages in Sumatra and Java, killing more than 36,000 people.
The original caldera collapsed in on itself, leaving three islands remaining of its rim : Sertung, Panjang and Rakata. In 1928, Anak Krakatau -“child of Krakatau – appeared. This still active daughter cone continues to eject tephra and lava, growing at the rate of 4 meters each year, now having reached 240 meters.
A rocky, wide skirt of black sand rings the island. Being so new, Anak Krakatau has provided a perfect laboratory for scientists studying early colonization of islands by plant and animal life. So far, 120 species of plants have found heir way to the little island. The shoreline is dominated by feathery casuarinas and a few tough succulents have found a niche further up the slope.
It takes just 20 minutes to climb the 150 or so meters to the rim of the new crater. Inside, the steaming cone is surrounded by a lunar landscape of fumaroles. Looking outward, one can see the surrounding island remains of the one-massive original Krakatau. The descent is easy, and is best finished with a refreshing swim along the black sand beach.