After driving around Australia and New Zealand for a year, working in Darwin after cyclone Tracey it was time to do some more travelling. I had already visited Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Luxemburg, Austria, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Now I was on my way to Bali before travelling through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and England.
Arriving in Bali and after the usual sight-seeing around Kuta Beach, I moved up to relax in Ubud, where artists and wood carvers are famous and where the tropical jungle and rice paddy fields surround this beautiful place.
From Ubud I moved further up the mountain on the back of a truck and found a cheap hotel on the edge of the Mount Batur crater rim. The hotel had a tremendous view of Bali’s largest crater lake and the active volcano which was erupting at the time. The view at night, watching the volcano spew red hot lava high into the sky was just amazing. I couldn’t wait for a closer look so I soon planned to walk up to it with two English guys who I met at the hotel. We were all excited about our venture, but we really didn’t know what to expect.
At night the volcano is a spectacle
At 7.30am the next day Terry, Chris and I trekked down into the crater and walked across a lava field to find some hot springs before climbing up to the summit of a non-active volcano to look down into the active one, which was on a lower level.
Loose shale and sharp volcanic rock made it a pretty hard climb. Eventually we reached the higher non-active volcano summit where we were able to peer into the erupting volcano below us. I was over the moon. I had never ever imagined visiting a volcano on this trip, now I was looking straight down into one.
It was cool on top of the mountain crater but the cold did little to dampen my joy of peering into a crater full of red molten lava. Every few minutes the volcano erupted giving out a very loud bang , followed by a huge cloud of smoke and number of burning rocks which flew in all directions. It was just amazing. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. We were literally jumping for joy.
We watched for several minutes and then out of the blue the next explosion sent several huge burning rocks, which were all leaving a smoke trail, straight towards us. Luckily, all but the odd rock failed to make our position and dropped back into the crater.
If felt like a close call and this scared Chris who already was a little nervous about being so close to a volcano, so he moved back away from the edge to where it was safer. Terry and I were in hysterics. We were like kids in a lolly shop, even worse. I couldn’t think of anything at that time that had made me so excited. We listened to the thunder crack and then watched the red hot rocks fly through the air, often in our direction. When the boulders stop flying and the smoke moved away we waited and looked into the crater to watch the whole process start again.
At the bottom of the crater we could see a red hot spot. It grew wider and wider like the petals of a flower opening. Eventually the red hot lava expanded until it could no longer hang on and it just burst and exploded, spewing the hot burning boulders high into the air. Our joy in seeing such an amazing sight was mind-boggling. We were just staggered at the whole eruption process and that we were actually witnessing one of the most astonishing and breath-taking sights you would ever see.