Posts tagged: sulfur

Indonesia: Kawah Ijen, A Sulfur Volcano In Java

By , February 18, 2011 7:59 am
Panoramic View Of The Crater

Panoramic View Of The Crater

After a short break of occidental life in Australia, it is time to get back to traveling backpacker-style again. Indonesia was not on our original list of countries to visit. However, after hearing many fellow travelers rave about it, we decided to squeeze it in.

Boris Having His First Banana Juice In Indonesia

Boris Having His First Banana Juice In Indonesia

With cheap flights to Indonesia, we flew out from Darwin, Australia. Our arrival into Bali made the beach city of Kuta an easy candidate for our first night stay, being only 15 minutes from the airport. It is so convenient that it felt like we never left Australia with so many Australian tourists around. It took us couple of hours to look for an almost livable, non-moldy hotel room that is within our budget. After spending a day walking among the crowds of tourists and touts, trying not to get ripped off when buying street food, we decide it is not the place for us, so we leave the next morning.

Ferry From Gilimanuk To Java Island

Ferry From Gilimanuk To Java Island

Dinner With Our French Friends

Dinner With Our French Friends

Spicy Javanese Food

Spicy Javanese Food

We board the first bus to Gilimanuk in the west of Bali, hop on a ferry, jump on a local ojek and finally arrive in Java at night. On the same night, we meet a French couple and decide to share a jeep to visit Kawah Ijen the next day.

The Men Have To Clear The Road

The Men Have To Clear The Road

Another Nearby Volcano

Another Nearby Volcano

Sulfur Smoke Coming Down

Sulfur Smoke Coming Down

Kawah (volcano) Ijen is one of the most beautiful volcanoes of Indonesia because of its baby-blue lake. It is also famous for its sulfur mine, which is still exploited today.

On The Edge Of The Crater

On The Edge Of The Crater

Crater & Sulfur Baskets

Crater & Sulfur Baskets

At our first sight of a sulfur miner, we are all in awe. He is carrying 2 heavy-looking baskets full of yellow blocks. Our guide informs us that the miners carry between 60 and 90 kg (130 to 200 pounds) of sulfur at one time. This figure seems a little outrageous so I try to lift the smallest basket. I can’t believe that it doesn’t even flinch as I try my hardest to lift it up. These miners are really hardcore.

Sulfur Miner Up Close

Sulfur Miner Up Close

Extremely Heavy Sulfur-Filled Baskets

Extremely Heavy Sulfur-Filled Baskets

Each time we pass a miner, we give him a piece of candy to help sooth his throat. We do not realize what this actually means until we are in sight of the caldera and are breathing in the sulfur vapors. It does not only smell like rotten eggs, but it tickles my throat and makes me cough as if I was breathing in pepper spray.

Candy Helps Soothes Miner's Throat

Candy Helps Soothes Miner's Throat

Trying To Breathe

Trying To Breathe

The view is amazing so we decide to hike down to the lake where the sulfur is extracted. The path is small and seems dangerous so we take our time. Thirty minutes later, we almost head back up because our eyes are tearful and we can hardly breath with all the smoke. Fortunately, the wind picks up a little and we suddenly see that we are almost there.

Just Part Of The Trek

Just Part Of The Trek

At the bottom, one of the miners decides to take a short break and show us around. He shows us the pipes that bring the hot liquid sulfur back to the surface. The miners stand next to the pipes and break blocks of solidified sulfur from the ground to fill their baskets.

Lots Of Smoke Coming Out Of The Pipes!

Lots Of Smoke Coming Out Of The Pipes!

Getting The Solidified Sulfur

Getting The Solidified Sulfur

A little hot stream is flowing from the side of the caldera to the lake. Both are at warm and at a pleasing temperature when I plunge my hand in.

On the way back, our guide explains to us that the miners do this 3.5 hours round-trip from the bottom of the crater to the trucks 2 to 3 times a day for which they are paid $7 USD on average. No health insurance or regular check-up is included.

As we head back, we make a few stops to see various trees like coffee, cinnamon, clove, and rubber. Our guide shows us these cool leaves that shrink when you touch it. We couldn’t get enough of it, touching all the leaves around us.

Rice Paddy Fields

Rice Paddy Fields

Local Kids In Kalibaru

Local Kids In Kalibaru

Making Fried Bananas

Making Fried Bananas

Delicious Fried Bananas

Delicious Fried Bananas

Fresh Cloves

Fresh Cloves

Clove Trees

Clove Trees

Cinnamon Tree

Cinnamon Tree

Rubber Tree

Rubber Tree

Rubber Trees

Rubber Trees

What We Paid: IDR USD Euro
– Jetstar flight from Cairns to Darwin, Australia 210/pp 155
– AirAsia flight from Darwin, Australia to Denpasar, Indonesia 190/pp 140
– Visa Upon Arrival for Indonesia 25/pp 18.50
– Taxi from Denpasar Airport to Kuta [30 mins] 40,000/ride 4.50 3.50
– Double room with private bath and AC in Kuta 180,000/double 20.50 15
– Street food 11,000/pp 1.50 1
– Restaurant dining 50,000/pp 5.50 4.50
– Taxi from Kuta to Ubung Bus Terminal [1 hour] 60,000/ride 7 5
– Bus from Ubung Bus Terminal to Gilimanuk [3 hours] 20,000/pp 2.50 1.50
– Ferry from Gilimanuk to Ketapang in Java [45 mins] 6,000/pp 1 0.50
– Ojek from ferry to Banyuwangi [or bemo costs 5,000 IDR pp] 20,000/ride 2.50 1.50
– Double room at Hotel Baru with private bath and AC 90,000/double 10 7.50
– Harry’s Javanese Restaurant for dinner 25,000/pp 3 2
– 4×4 Tour to Kawah Ijen 550,000/jeep 62 45.50
– Entrance to Kawah Ijen 15,000/pp 2 1.50
– Camera fee for Kawah Ijen 30,000/each 3.50 2.50
– Local bus from Banyuwangi to Kalibaru [1 hour] 10,000/pp 1.50 1
– Basic double with fan and free breakfast in Kalibaru 60,000/double 7 5
– Local dining in Kalibaru 20,000/pp 2.50 2
– Local bus with no AC from Kalibaru to Malang [7 hours] 30,000/pp 3.50 2.50

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

New Zealand North: The Champagne Pool Of Wai-O-Tapu

By , January 26, 2011 5:00 am
View From Wai-O-Tapu

View From Wai-O-Tapu

One of the things I am most looking forward to in the North Island is an active volcanic area, called Wai-O-Tapu. As we enter the park, it starts to smell like rotten eggs. This can only mean we are approaching the Champagne Pool. While the name sounds quite nice, you probably don’t want to actually sip this water. The carbon dioxide in the water creates the bubbles like in Champagne. The bright palette of colors in the pool is due to the sulfur mineral deposits. I just want to stare at the pool for hours, but the smell is so strong I have to move on.

MuiMui Walking Across Platform

MuiMui Walking Across Platform

The Champagne Pool

The Champagne Pool

Me & Frenchie

Me & Frenchie

Great Palette Of Colors

Great Palette Of Colors

The park is pretty large. As we continue walking, the various geothermal landscapes vary from each other significantly. For a moment, I think I see the Incredible Hulk coming out of the neon green pool.

Neon Green Pool

Neon Green Pool

Different Landscapes Within The Park

Different Landscapes Within The Park

Hot Blue Pools

Hot Blue Pools

Pretty But Scorching Hot

Pretty But Scorching Hot

Don't Fall In

Don't Fall In

Yellow Bubbles

Yellow Bubbles

Then I hear something start to bubble out of the mud pool and it’s interesting how the mud splatters. With Boris’ new zoom lens, we can accurately capture it.

Mud Splatter Looks Like A Head Of A Dog

Mud Splatter Looks Like A Head Of A Dog

Love The Zoom Lens

Love The Zoom Lens

Throughout the park, there are various geysers that spew out at different times. The largest of them all is Lady Knox Geyser. As she blows, this fascinates the crowd. I found out later, this is the first geyser Boris has ever seen.

Geyser About To Go Off

Geyser About To Go Off

Lady Knox Geyser

Lady Knox Geyser

There She Blows

There She Blows

Being here just confirms how bad I need to visit Yellowstone National Park when I return to the states.

In our hot blue rental car, we drive to city of Taupo where we randomly come upon this luxury waterfront rental at Sacred Waters. For the next couple of days, Boris and I do not depart from the compound. We leave the sightseeing to Marie Hélène and Gérard while we enjoy the amenities, which include our own personal spa made out of stainless steel. It’s pretty cool as the hot water comes in from the natural springs. For our meals, Boris and I are the head chefs where I am the lamb expert and he is the side-dish-made-with-cheese expert. What a dynamic duo we are.

Boris Feeling Back At Home

Boris Feeling Back At Home

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit

Our Sweet Backyard

Our Sweet Backyard

Personal Spa With Stainless Steel Seats

Personal Spa With Stainless Steel Seats

Our next post will highlight the white cliffs of Taranaki.

Hot Spring In Taupo

Hot Spring In Taupo

Pied Stilt

Pied Stilt

Wild Feathered Bird

Wild Feathered Bird

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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