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Krakatau

 

Volcanic activity recommenced in May, 1883 and continued into August, the first eruptions appearing on the northern, Perbuatan volcano. The number of active vents increased on bothkrakatau explosion 1883 the northern volcanoes. On the 26 th and 27 th August series of cataclysmic explosions occurred which were heard 3500 miles away as far away as South Australia and Ceylon, was recorded as of the world's biggest explosion the force of 100.000 hydrogen bombs, They generated tsunamis (tidal wave) crashed ashore and devastated hundreds of town and village, reaching almost 10 miles inland in some places. The resulting killer waves at speed up to a 350 miles per hour and reached height of 135 feet that were registered even in the English Channel , 11.000 miles away and which in the Sunda - strait area were devastating, killing more than 36.000 people. That total volume of material ejected by the eruption is estimated at some 18 - 21 cubic kilometers, 30 km high into the atmosphere with an ash cloud circling the earth several times. Causing "blue suns" and "orange moons" Europe and  North America . The amount of the sun's energy reaching the earth was reduced, and in the year or two that followed, annual average temperatures in the northern hemisphere were than usual.

In the aftermath of the explosion only about a third of Krakatau remained. The northern two thirds, including the volcanoes Perbutan and Danan and the northern half of the Rakata Volcano, were gone. In their place was a collapsed crater (caldera) 200m beneath the sea, covering an area of about 28 square kilometer. The remaining, southern part of Rakata was left as approximate half,  cone with an almost perpendicular cliff from the summit (813 m) to the sea, providing a natural, geological section through the volcano. The other two islands, Sertung and Panjang, were enlarged considerably (Sertung doubled in size) by the glowing ash and pumice which smothered them to a depth of 30 meters. On Rakata, the south and west coasts were were extended almost a kilometer-seawards and the ash layer reached a thickness of 60 m in some areas, although probably much shallower on the steeper slopes. Weeks after the explosion, rain water turned into steam as it trickled into crevices and a even month later the surface was too hot for bare feet. It is believed that all life, plant and animal, was destroyed on the islands. Yet the three islands are now covered in forest, and over 200 species of higher plants and 36 species of land birds have been found on Rakata in the 1980s.

At some point in the distant past, Krakatau consisted of a single, large volcanic island. This island was destroyed in eruptions presumably of great violence, leaving three fragments of the original volcanic walls in a brokenbadul island ring, or caldera, around the edge of this original island. The three islands are now named Rakata, Sertung and Panjang. Subsequently, further eruptions began, building up the largest island (Rakata) back into the center of the caldera. As of 1883, the only previous recorded eruptions had come from this big island in 1680. The islands of Panjang and Sertung, then as now, remained dormant. Then in May of 1883, eruptions began again on the big island, and one by one, the three peaks of the island -- Perboewatan, Danan and Rakata -- each came into action as the cycle of building and destruction reached its peak. Finally, on August 27th, the sequence ended in catastrophe, as huge volumes of ejecta were hurled into the sky, plunging the surrounding region for a radius of 80 km into 57 hours of darkness. Relatively few people appear to have died as a direct result of the ejecta, but huge numbers died because of an indirect consequence of the eruption. As the magma chamber emptied, the outer walls of the volcano failed, and collapsed -- repeating the pre-historic caldera collapse -- displacing two-thirds of the island.

These events generated a series of giant waves, or tsunami, which steepened as they reached shallow waters. Lava forming islandsThese waves swept across the coastal lowlands of Java and Sumatra on either side of the Sunda Strait, killing an estimated 36,000 people and destroying many settlements. As an illustration of the forces involved, a government gunboat, the Berouw, was carried nearly 3 km inland and stranded behind a small hill 9 m above sea-level (the crew of 28 were amongst those who died). The violence ended abruptly, leaving a greatly re-shaped archipelago. In the centre of the caldera, where there had once been a substantial island, the sea-floor was reached at a depth of over 250 m. The three remaining islands were greatly re-shaped, and in places extensive new land surfaces had been created by the deposition of great thicknesses of pyroclastic ashes where once had been nothing but the sea. On the persisting areas of land, an average of 60-80 m of these ashes had been emplaced. The resulting landscapes were completely barren, and as far as can be established, no life survived. Plants and animals soon colonized, and the ecosystem re-building began -- a story we will come back to. Down in the depths of the earth, the emptied magma chamber will, once again, have begun to fill, eventually creating sufficient pressure to begin the construction phase of the cycle once again, naturally, pretty much in the center of the caldera

Forty year after the main explosion, in 1927, volcanic activity was seen in the sea covering the old caldera, between the sites of the two northernmost former volcanoes of Krakatau, where the greatest activity had occurred at the time of the cataclysm. A series of eruption 185 m below the surface of the sea resulted in the emergence of three new islands, one after the other. They were all son destroyed by surf. A fourth emerged from the sea on August 12th 1930. It remained above water, and was aptly named Anak Krakatau ( child of Krakatau ). This young and active volcano has been growing around 6 feet a year and still continues doing so. It grew by the accumulation of ash, and suffered a devastating eruption in 1952, and other very destructive one in 1971. It is now 300 m high and 5 Km in diameter, and is still active spurting fire and cinder, this like moonlike landscape. It is lonely volcanic island in the middle of the sea. The northeast coast, north foreland and east foreland are now vegetated; the succession of vegetation is still at an early stage, Casuarinas equisetifolia (cemara) being the dominant tree.    

Topography

Generally rough except Anak Krakatau as its volcanic activities sustain the overall height. In 1976 it was only 169.67 M. in 1973 it was 189.48 and the last measurement was in 1985 when its height was 240 m, and  was in 2008 more than 300 m.

Vegetation

The primary vegetation includes the Kilangir ( Chsiocheton Microcarpus ), Ketapang (Terminal Catppa),Melinjo (Gnetum Gnemon),Mara (Macaranggo Fanarius),Cemara (Casuarina Equisetifolia),Waru (Hibiscus Filioeus) Kampis (Hemadia Peltata), Hampelas (Ficus Ampelas), Cangkudu (Morinda Citrifolia )

Wild Life

Not many animal to see, how ever if we are lucky enough, you might see the Bottle Nosed Dolphin (Delphmus Delphie), Flying fox (Pteropus Vampirus), Monitor Lizard (Varanus Salvator), Green Turtle (Cholonia Mydas), Champeleon (Calotes Cristaleus), or Python (Python Sp), Birds include the stork Billed – Kingfisher (Tonyseptra Galatea), Common Tern (Stama Hirundo) and white – Bellied sea Eagle (Heliastur Leucogaster )

Ujung Kulon has a vast array of wild life, quite a number Ujung Kulon has a vast array of wildlife, quite a number of which are endangered or rare. Some of the animals are so unafraid that they freely wonder in and around the tourist lodges, others are sighted almost every day, many are heard rather than seen, and some are rarely seen.

Ujung Kulon National Park

The park's 120.551 hectares are divided into 76.214 ha of land and 44.337 ha of surrounding reef and sea. It can roughly be separated into three areas: the triangular shapedujung kulon map Ujung kulon Peninsula, the Gunung Honje Range to the east of the peninsula's isthmus and the island of Panaitan to the northwest. The highest points in the park are the 620 meters Gunung Honje, the Gunung Payung Range peaks of up to 500 meters and Panaitan Island 's Gunung Raksa at 320 meters. In the central section of the Peninsula is a large region of wilderness known as the Talanca Plateau which reaches 140 meters above sea level, however most consist of low rolling terrain seldom more than 50 meters above sea level.

The park surrounded by unusually warm water, seldom varying from between 29C to 30C. The coastlines of the park are molded by the sea around them, battered by Indian Ocean; the long sandy beaches of the south coast are backed by dunes, lagoons and forest broken by rocky outcrops  a wild and wind swept shore line.The west coast's reef-lined shore has cliffs, promontories and towering sea-stacks along sand and boulder beaches overhung by forest, creating the most spectacular coastline in the park.On the north coast, the sheltered tropical straits lap upon beaches of white sands and coral banks with islands, estuaries, swamps and forest lined shores.Along each coastline is variety of seascape which in all their diversity, offer a wide range of absorbing shoreline experiences.

GEOLOGY

The even that led to formation of the land we as Ujung kulon began about 200 years ago when what is now the Indian Continent broke away from the super-continent Gondwanaland. It collided with the Asian continent creating huge ripples across the earth's crust forming the snow-clad Himalaya along with Sumatra's mountain range, Bukit Barisan. It believed that the Ujung kulon Peninsula and the Gunung Honje Range were at that time the southern end of Bukit Barisan Range as Java and Sumatra were connected by a land-bridge. Then 20.000 to 15.000 years ago, the bridge collapsed to eventually form the Sunda Strait about 9.500 years ago.

How ever, the period when the strait was formed is somewhat contradicted by an intriguing account in an early Javanese chronicle The Book of Kings. It states that in the year 416 AD the mountain Kapi (Krakatau) burst into peaces and sunk into deepest of the earth and the sea flooded the land from Gunung Gede near Bogor to mountain Raja Basa in Southern Sumatra. The chronicle concludes: After the waters subsided the mountain Kapi and surrounding land became sea and the island of  Java was divided into two parts.

It is a curious fact that no sea straits between Sumatra and Java was known before 1.100's by the far ranging Chinese and Arabian traders and later European explores.Beneath the mountains and forest of Ujung kulon, carved by the thousands of centuries of rain, wind and sea, are foundation of the land - a young mountain system formed over the older strata of the Sunda Shelf. Geologically, the Ujung kulon Peninsula, Gunung Honje Range and Panaitan Island are part of this young tertiary mountain system while the central part of Ujungkulon is of older limestone formations which have been covered by alluvial deposits in the north and sandstone in the south. Much of underlying rocks and early soils of the park are covered by volcanic ash, in places up to 1 meter deep, a legacy from the Krakatau eruptions.

The mountain ranges were all formed by the same folding event in the Miocene period creating beneath the forest of the Gunung Honje Range an eastward tilting mountain block. A reminder of this activity is a geological fault line situated off the Tamanjaya coastline. It bisects the park beneath the isthmus as it passes through the Sunda straits connecting the volcanic islands of Krakatau to the major tectonic fault line to the south of Indonesia

CLIMATE

Ujung kulon's tropical maritime climate, somewhat cooler than inland areas of Java, produces an annual rainfall of approximately 3.250 mm. Temperatures range between 25º and 30ºC, with a humidity level generally between 80% and 90%. April to October are the drier months, particularly between July to October. During these months there are long period of fine, calm weather with occasional spells of overcast skies, rain and rougher seas. The wetter season usually begins in November and finishes in March bringing an average of 400 mm of rain per month. The heaviest rains of December and January are often accompanied by squalls and strong winds, clearing the atmosphere and producing brilliant sunsets and spectacular panoramas (Margareth Clarbrough/Ujungkulon National Park Handbook)

Rhinoceros

The most precious of all the animalism the parks is the Java one-horjavan rhinoned rhinoceros, the rarest large animal on earth. Once found across much of south east Asia, the first accounts of the Java rhino date back to China 's Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-906) when Java was noted as a source for rhino horns. In Java during the 1700?s rhinos were so numerous and damaging to the agricultural plantations that the government paid a bounty for every rhino killed, bagging five hundred within two years. Ujung Kulon's rhino population is now estimated at around fifty individuals and they were believed to be the last remaining Javan rhino in the world until a small population was recently discovered in Vietnam . However, these are so few in numbers that their viability is unlikely and so Ujung Kulon remains the last home of this magnificent pachyderm. In appearance the Javan rhino is closest to the Indian rhino, both having a single-horn and skin folds or plates but there are distinct differences between their neck plates and skin textures.

The javan gibbonJavan rhino also has a long prehensile upper lip which extends below the lower allowing it to grasp foliage. The body shape of the Javan rhino is designed to push aside the undergrowth and only the male Javan rhino has a prominent horn while the female has a lump similar to a halved coconut. Earlier this century Javan rhinos were measures as being over 170 cm. At the shoulders, more than 3 meters in length and 2,200 kg. In body weight but a recent photographic survey indicates that the largest rhino in Ujung Kulon may be around 150 cm. in height. Rhino's range over a maximum distance of 15 to 20 kilometers a day in the densely forested lowlands of the Ujung Kulon Peninsula and to the east of its isthmus. They are most mobile at nights, like wallowing in mud pools and sometimes venture onto beaches and grazing grounds. Although actual sightings of rhinos are rare, their prints and droppings are often found on the trails, sometimes unnervingly fresh. Javan rhinos are believed to be capable of running as fast as a person and so advice to visitors, should they happen to come across one, is to climb the nearest tree and take a photo - in that order.

Deer

Far more obvious animals in the park are the Javan rusaa deer that freely graze around the tourist lodges. These are the largest of the three deer species in Ujung Kulon. The rusa ags are at their most komodo lizardmagnificent in the mating season around August to September when the antlers have shed their velvet and territorial battles between the stags begin.

The smaller Barking deer has a long sleek head and measures around 60-70 cm. at the shoulders. The stags have short, two-pointed antlers and tusk-like canine teeth. Their favorite habitat is low to the ground and when fleeing their white under-tail catches the eye. The smallest is the Mouse deer which measures only 20-25 cm. in height and has a

reddish-brown coat with white underpants. The stag does not have antlers but instead has long curving canine teeth that extend outside the mouth. In the early years visitors to Ujung Kulon witnessed a Mouse deer ripping open the stomach of a rival during a mating fight. Their habitat is within the forest and they rarely venture onto beaches and clearings.

Banteng

Since pre-historic times these wild cattle have lived throughout Java and in the 17th century were used to carry loads but now the herds roam wild and are found in just a few locations throughout the island. The males have black coats while the females are usually a golden brown and both have white buttocks and stockings. A mature bull can measure over  170 cm. at the shoulders and although both sexes have horns, only the males are large and curved. Banteng favor open grassy clearings for grazing particularly early and late in the day but also feed on the forest’s young secondary growth and are found throughout the Peninsula and southern Gunung Honje regions.

Primates

Ujung Kulon has five species of primates with the brown, long-tailed, Crab-eating, macaques being the most commonly seen especially on beaches and reefs at low tide. Peucang Islands supports four separate groups numbering over two hundred individuals.

The macaques? strongly hierarchical society is based on a matrilineal system - daughters stay with the mother as long as they live while juvenile males usually leave the group to join another group or become solitary. Within the group structure there can be several adult males with one being the dominant but tolerant leader.

Female macaques usually rank just below their mothers and, interestingly, above older sisters so that even babies from highly ranked mothers can control adult males and females. Primarily fruit eaters, the macaques? diet includes a wide variety of food and their cheek pouches can hold the equivalent of a stomach load of food which allows for hasty food gathering to be eaten later. Each group has its own territory and although they sleep in trees they do not build nests and unlike the park’s other primates they are equally at home on the ground or in trees.

Another primate, only found in Java, is the glossy blackish-brown Javan silvered leaf monkey which has long, slender limbs and tail. They frequent most regions of the park particularly the Gunung Honje Range but unlike the macaques their groups are small and usually contain one adult male, several females and their young. The rarely seen Grizzled

leaf monkey in slightly heavier than the Javan silvered leaf monkey and has a grey coat, long tail and head crest. Very small populations of this extremely rare and endangered monkey live in the Gunung Payung and Honje Ranges.

Also endangered is the Javan or Moloch gibbon which is unique to West Java and its habitat in Ujung Kulon is the primary forests of the Gunung Honje Range. These tail-less primates have grey fluffy coats and black faces and make a distinctive hooting call resembling their Indonesian name Owa. Gibbons are monogamous, mate for life and live in small family groups consisting of a male, female and one or more young. The young adults leave the group to roam the forest searching for a mate and new territory. The parks? fifth primate is the Slow Loris and being nocturnal, sightings are uncommon. Around 25 to 30 cm. in size, it has an ash-grey coat and large round eyes for night vision. The notable characteristic is its slow, smooth, perfectly co-ordinate movements’ which allow it to freeze in mid-movement for self protection if disturbed.

Wild Pigs

Ujung Kulon has two types of wild pig, the Eurasian wild pig and the Javan warty pig. Similar in size and weight, the Eurasian wild pig sometimes has a light grayish-white stripe from the head to the chest while the male Javan warty pig has three pairs of lumps or warts on the face which can give an old male a monstrous appearance. The coat of the young Eurasian piglet has long yellowish-brown stripes and when disturbed they often make short loud grunts while warty pigs have a high pitched cry. Wild pigs are pressingly good swimmers and have been known to cross the 700 meters channel between the Peninsula and Peucang Island.

Cats

The cat family was represented by five species although the last positive sighting of a Javan tiger in Ujung Kulon was in the 1950?s and it is believed that they are now part of the long list of the world’s extinct animals. However, leopards measuring over half a meter at the shoulder and over 1.5 meters in length, number as many as sixty in Ujung Kulon and their tracks are sometimes seen on beaches and stream beds. The black rosette on their coat have background colors that can vary from a light straw yellow to orange-yellow and it is not uncommon for the leopards to have completely black coats. Fishing cats, named for their ability to scoop fish out of water, are considerably smaller than leopards but larger than domestic and the jungle or leopards cats, which tend to frequent the boundary regions of the park near settlements.

Civets

Between a fox and ferret in size with short legs, long muzzle and tail the same length as its body, the most often seen of these predators is the Common palm civet which is found throughout the park including Panatian Island.

Wild Dogs

These are quite different from the domesticated village dogs seen throughout Indonesia as they are smaller, squatter, have a red-brown coat and a fox like appearance. They live hunt in packs and in 1846 there was an account of hundreds of large turtles, some of hitch were well over a meter in length, being over-turned and killed by a dog pack on Ujung Kulon’s south coast. Then unaccountably their numbers decreased to the point where they were never seen in Ujung Kulon until earlier this century when they again re-appeared, possibly partly due to the dwindling tiger population.

BIRDS

Although over 250 species have been recorded in Ujung Kulon, the  birds are not always easily seen as many live high in the forest   canopy or are vigilant inhabitants of the dense undergrowth. However it is the constant bird calls of Ujung Kulon that  contribute to the atmosphere of the forest, for seldom is the park   silent.

AMPHIBIAN AND REPTILS

# Crocodiles

# Turtles

# Frogs

# Lizards

# Snakes

INSECTS

The world's vast numbers of invertebrate species, which out-number the animals by ten to one, have extremely important roles as pollinators, re-cycles, pest controllers and generally keep the forests alive and healthy

MARINE LIFE

The park has a wide variety of marine habitats. The rocky shores, mangrove swamps, mud flats, sea grass beds, coral reefs and sea trenches, providing diverse and fascinating insights into the underwater world.

FISHES

The easiest to find particularly on the shores of Peucang islaand are the brilliantly colored reef browsing fish with colors and patterns from nature at its most vivid and creative.

Of these perhaps the most beautiful is the black, white and lemon vertical striped Moorish Idols with long, sweeping dorsal fins emphasizing its gracefulness.

Delicate yet boldly patterned butterfly fishes come in various shades white, yellow and orange with black markings and often have a black vertical stripe through the eye. usually found in pairs, when alarmed they use their fins and spines to firmly wedge themselves in crevices in the reef.

The most common clownfish in Ujung Kulon are golden brown in color white bands across the body. Often found sheltering amongst the tentacles of sea anemones, the mucous of the clownfish contains a substance that makes the stinging anemone believe it is one of its own. Other outstanding fishes include the imaginatively patterned angelfishes of which the Emperor Angelfish with thin blue and yellow horizontal striped and a bright orange tail is a wonderful example

Yet another spectacular species is represented by the Lionfish which motionlessly hovers over the reefs spreading black usually placid, if approached too closely can inflict an extremely painful sting from the row of poisonous spines along its back.

Often the larger fish are just as eye-catching with brilliant red rock cod and snapper, range striped trigger fish, banded and mottled morays eels and exquisitely patterned surgeon fish. The colorful parrotfish has teeth that are fused into a parrot-like beak with which it crushes corrals and mollusk  into fine coral sand. They sleep inside lose cocoons constructed of mucous, sand and weeds in crevices in the reef. Marine mammals that visit the coastline include the regularly seen dolphins and the unusual and rarely seen dugong or sea cow

CORALS

The reef builders, the stony or hard corals make up the reefs of shallower waters. During the day many of these area are dull brown color but at nights they are transformed into miniature marine forests of plankton feeding tentacles

Hard corals are built from the skeletons of tiny marine animals called polyps and come in a wide variety of shapes. These can resemble rocks or branching stag horns, be flat-topped or cup shaped, appear like up-turned mushrooms or have fungi-like folding on tours. Their color tend to be more subdued than the soft corals because of the extra sunlight in shallow waters. The soft corals, colonizers of established reefs, do not have the limestone skeleton of the reef builders and instead are numerous polyp gathered around a fleshy centre. Their lovely formations vary from fan-like shapes to branching varieties or have finger-like tendrils and whips in colors that vary from the delicate to the vivid. The more delicate or leafy forms tend to be found in deeper waters as they are too fragile for strong currents

ESTUARIES AND FRESHWATER

The mudflats and stream of Ujung Kulon also hold a fascinating array of life forms. Mangrove swamps, rich in nutrients are home to two unique species of fish, the skipper and the archerfish. The bulging-eyed mudskippers, constantly seen hoping across the water surface, often venture onto land but must return to the water to replenish their gill chamber reserves. Mudskippers also have the most unusual attribute of being able to climbing trees. The clever little archerfish is named for its practice of squirting shafts of water over 2 meters high to knock insects off overhanging leaves.

Yet another fascinating fish, that lives in the fresh waters of the park is a tool using fish. It clings to the underside of floating leaves which it then maneuvers, often against the current and from its hiding place preys on smaller fish. Ujung Kulon is alive with crabs of many sizes and colors. Perhaps the most common is the small whitish Ghost crab, aptly named because of its quick disappearances, which deposits tiny sand balls in fan shaped designs on beaches. Hermit crabs are the species that live inside shells, exchanging them for larger ones as the crab matures. The large holes found on the forest floor, sometimes many kilometers from the sea, are made by mature hermit crabs that have abandoned their shells.

Fiddler crabs of colors that include bright red and turquoise are also easily identifiable because they have one claw far larger than the other and are sometimes seen engaging in group claw waving sessions in defense of their holes. the reefs and waters of the Park have an enormous variety of marine life. A vast world of shells, sponges, anemones, slugs, seahorse, squids, sea cucumbers, lobsters, shrimps, snails, jelly-fishes and worms- these are just a few of the numerous creatures for visitor to discover (Source: Indonesia's Ujungkulon National Park Handbook, written (by Margareth Clarbrougks