Sunday, August 04, 2013

Mount Ijen

Mount Ijen is the third mountain in this Mt Semeru, Mt Bromo and Mt Ijen 10D9N trip at East Java, Indonesia from 20-29 July 2013. 

Each mountain has its own beauty and characteristic. This mountain is about sulphur, gasses, the miners and the turquoise-coloured acid crater lake. 

Do CLICK HERE to view 150 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

Yeah! Raring to GO for the white-water rafting activity !!! At water rafting outfitter site, Pekalen River. (left): Joseph, KC Leong, Jesslyn, Marie, SK, George, Fiona, Sharon Tan, Wong FK.

 Adrenaline rush ... The inflatable raft of Boat A: Joseph, Jesslyn, Marie and Wong FK. Note: all water rafting action photos are being shot by the cameraman of rafting outfitter.

 Boat B ... KC Leong, Sharon Tan and Fiona (face hidden by hand)

This is a Grade 3 or 4 of white-water with small waves, small drop and rocks with significant maneuvering by the Raft Guide. Raft Guide maneuvering the raft with his oar and throw his weight for balancing … Fiona, Sharon and KC Leong.

 Against the background of a waterfall ... V pose by yours truly ... :-)

 Mount Ijen, East Java … Fiona trying out to lift the baskets of sulphur, which is about 70-80 km in weight.

As decorative items ... Sulphur is a very colourful chemical substance. At room temperature it is bright yellow. When its molten, its red and it is electric blue when burned. Each item (with real sulphur) is sold at RM 1.50 (Rp5,000). Note: do not buy many of these thinking to help the miners as sulphur may be deem dangerous substance and would be confiscated at airport when going through the security checkpoint. But small quantity and put in the check-in luggage is OK.

A worker measure the weight of the sulphur being brought out from Ijen volcano. The tensile strength of rattan that can take almost 80km without being snapped. The incredible strength of human that can carry a load heavier than the carrier.

 Arriving at the crater rim … nothing grows here with the sulphur gasses

The wind blows the gasses away revealing the turquoise-coloured acid crater lake … yours truly (KC). Seeing the smoke and the water, that reminds me of the song "Smoke on the water" ... a signature song by Deep Purple.

The Magnificent Seven engulfed in gasses with full masks … (left) WongFK, Sharon Tan, Fiona Goh, SK, George, Marie, Jesslyn. According to WongFK, the effect of the sulphur gas can be seen in the photo where Fiona is holding up a closed umbrella and his thumbs up sign is down.

Erick, our hardworking and committed trekking chef and coordinator who takes care of our food and drinks since trekking at Mount Semeru, at the first mountain. I was truly impressed with him when we were getting reading to ascend Mount Semeru at the base camp at 1:00 a.m.; in the very cold morning, after preparing our food, he handed me a cup of hot cereal drinks, and said, “minum supaya Mr. kuat untuk summit!” (Sir, drink … so that you will have strength to summit the peak).

 Jesslyn, Fiona, Sharon and KC Leong preparing to descend into the crater with the steps and ladders.

 Here comes the gasses ... a miner is seen taking a breather; swiftly and surely the gasses are going to engulf him.

 A different world that is so colourful … workers mining sulphur in the heart of the volcano

A sulphur miner carries baskets containing sulphur and walk up a gradient of 45 to 60 degrees and then as far as 3 km down the mountain for weighing. Carrying about 70-80 km per trip, the reward is about RM 15 (Rp 50,000); the most is two trips a day. Risking their health, sulphur miners often use insufficient protection while working around the volcano. We could hear them cough while going up the slope.

Back to Surabaya after a 5-hour travelling in the trusted 12-seater Izuzu van. The next morning ... visit House of Sampoerna cigarette house. We also visited Cheng Hoo Masjid/temple; shopping for outdoor gear at Surabaya, mostly Indonesian brand. No international brand here.

The final evening at another hotel at Surabaya; there is a balcony overseeing the traffic below and we enjoyed ourselves with the local street food. Having drinks and chit chatting while going online with the free Wifi from the hotel.

Day 10 final shopping or window shopping at Tunjungan Plaza, Surabaya. It is as big and posh as Mid-Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur. Final dinner at 6:00 p.m. courtesy of trekking agent; after dinner, the group return to Kuala Lumpur at 9:10 p.m. via Air Asia flight.

Surabaya is Indonesia's second-largest city with a population of over 3.1 million (5.6 million in the metropolitan area). Located on the northern shore of eastern Java, it is the capital of the province of East Java. 

Do click here to view video of sulphur mining in an active volcano - BBC News.

Do click here to view Part 1 (Mt Semeru), click here for Part 2 (Mt Bromo).

Posted by KC Leong

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