Cinema & Gif
For lack of special
volcanic eruptions in the world I decided to fly again to Indonesia.
Rinjani on Lombok was still active, and now the opportunity in
addition was given to take more time for this volcano. The main
intention however were the volcanoes Ibu and Dukono on Halmahera,
this should after investigating several sources at least be
occasionally active. This afield Indonesia, which differs from the
closely settled Java fundamentally, interested me mainly. Here still
tribes, live completely isolated from the civilization in the rain
forests. Unfortunately there was no opportunity as usual due to the
very close schedule for learn about flora and fauna more exactly.
However at first I went alone
Here one night at the crater
edge for the in meantime quite weak active Rinjani should be enough.
With mandatory guide and porter we started from Senaru on the
classical trekking route on 2600m to the Rim.
At the rim there is also
the general camp where also other tourists enjoy the
comprehensive view on the crater lake Segara Anak with the young
cinder cone Gunung Baru.
This ‘island cone’ pushed over the last months a new lava tongue
into the lake, and at present one still AA lava stream and a
glowing chimney is the evidence of a high magma niveau. The
degassing quite produced noise, but no Strombolian ejections
were to be observed.
After the descent the
excursion to the water falls near the mountain village Senaru is it
worth again and again, and brought welcome refreshment.
The next day
I took a rattly ferry boat to Bali. From Bali good airline connections to Sulawesi with
propeller-driven aircrafts directly to Kao on
are offered at present. Now I travelled accompanied by Alain
(see also the last
tour). Alain wanted also to see and to document the changes of
the volcanoes after many years on
After the bloody religious unrests among
the Christ an Muslim Moluccas did abate,
3.000 people lost there life and over 600 villages were
destroyed, it is now nearly problem-free
to visit North Halmahera.
However you must realise, that offside the cities no English is
spoken and no options for transports over larger distances are
available. Tourism is rather unknown, and as a white travelling
European you even cause a sensation among the native
Hence, thank to Alain for the great
Unexpected, the aircraft didn't land in the
capital city of Tobelo, but further south in Kao in the middle
of nothing. Further the direct road connection doesn't exist to
the volcano and the same named city Ibu anymore. The road got a
victim of the rain time. Therefore we had to take the detour
along the whole east coast which took 8 hours more. With a
spontaneously organised private vehicle you’ll probably reach
the road end. But this action depends of the temporarily
If successful, you have
to negotiate with the chief of the village about permission for
mountaineering and guides with porters.
Due to the overgrowing flora and the few visits at the volcano
the conditions to traverse the jungle got real hard in the
meantime. The route must be defined new again with a machete.
The edge of the crater was partial charred. Due to the
increasing dome, the down slipping hot lava developed
continuously small bush fires. This charred cheroots produces a
haunting scenery indeed. To get a free sight at the rim you have
to strike down the jungle for hours. Fortunately we were
accompanied by a bear-strong guide.
During the last 10 years the crater was filled with an enormous
lava dome. The inside volcano possesses some vents, from which
ashes and gas discharged accompanied with Strombolian ejections.
During our presence however only two active vents could be
observed, the natives reported from occasional six active
outlets at the same time
The characteristic experience is here amplified in its original
appearance and isolation of this volcano, which was visited from
only few foreigners the last years. Nevertheless the dome can
grow in the next years easily over the edge of crater, but the
natives seemed not to be frightened due to this situation. After
two nights we descended again. In fact the dry weather caused by
El Nino was uncommon, anyhow nebula and high clouds
together with the persistent flora at the edge of the crater
prevented sophisticated photographs.
Now the return over 8 hours long in the Tobelo direction started.
Tobelo normally could only be reached by feed. Already from the
distance we saw an enormous black cloud and believed at first to a
huge forest fire. This turned out later as the Dukono ash cloud.
In order to lose no time, we tried in support of the volcanic
observatory to organize a tour under hard negotiations with the
local mayor to the actually closed Dukono. This succeeded
apparently problem-free. Only on the next day we waited in vain
for our rough-terrain vehicle and the guides and porters. Because
of the Ramadan which is very seriously taken here in the Islamic
region, no one wanted to take the way to Dukono. An additional
reason was that the Dukono discharges again large ash clouds,
which expands dozens of kilometre far over the country.
The initial delight was decreasing while waiting at least several
hours for the guides and a 4 wheeled vehicle. After starting in
the direction Dukono volcano I became clear what difficulties are
hidden under this big ash cloud. With each kilometre you approach
to the volcano more ash on the shrubs and trees are piling up and
dropped down by the smallest contact in cascades. Then the Toyota
changed into the strike modus. The air filter completely 'dense',
a total engine loss was the consequence. The driver couldn’t
believe it at all and filled the fuel directly into the engine
mount, no chance.
Now 'per pedes' was the only way to reach the volcano. After 100m
walk your shape doesn't seem like a human beeing and the ash is
creeping in every pore and creates a dense layer. At the beginng you
take optimistically every puddle for washing, but after 10 minutes
with the increasing ash density you give up :-((. I wondered why a
guide was attended us, because the due to the hot dryness and the
dust no water was discovered. At the end of the vegetation
zone a plateau offered a good camping opportunity. Aggressive rats
are always helpful by shaking down the continiously ash fall down.
Dukono grime, photos
middle up and down row by Alain de Toffoli
attacked us by
through smallest gaps in the tents, ran
over the sleeping
want to leave the tents at all… even bite wounds could be
A better wind situation permitted the ascent to the edge of the
crater, and surprisingly the ash was only half a meter deep and we
could reach the sharp ridge.
A nearly unreal situation, the deep sun enchanted the ash dunes in
a gold-yellow light, the ash flag protracts up and far away in the
country. Under my position the centre of the crater with one vent
and an enormous pressure was situated. The noise was such as loud
that it hurts in the ears while the ground vibrated often.
full moon you could observe also the glowing cinders, which this
too. However it
extraordinarily hard to get a free view
the whole time.
You are nearly always located directly in the moving direction of
the ash cloud, which let the camera get older for years, and filled
your lungs up with ash.
Altogether we had a few minutes
the two days and nights (!) with a really free view into the
crater. During our way back we met our driver with his vehicle. It
was not possible to
the car in a running condition since the last two days. We pushed
and pulled the car still another one hour
without success by using up our last water reserves. In the
evening then drinking and a hotel was announced in Tobelo. Result
of this journey: A mad adventure, which I never like to miss! For
example the experience how dirty and thirsty one could be, by
reaching more and more pleasure to this strange situation
let me get
at the end.