Monday, December 20, 2010


To see the sunrise on Bromo, you have to get an early start. The alarm went off about 3:30 and we were on our way a couple of minutes after 4.
It was dark, raining a bit and foggy. There were a few times we couldn't see anything of where we were going. But our driver had driven the road hundreds of times. (I could do several entries just on our transportation experiences on this trip, but, for now, I'll just make a few comments along the way.)

Here we are, around the time we were supposed to be watching the sun rise (about 5:10 AM). The gray background is fog. The sun came up, but we couldn't prove it!
Here is one of our first glimpses of the ash rising from the volcano. For a while, this would appear and quickly vanish in the clouds.

We were very thankful when the volcano finally appeared. The pictures in the clouds do justice to what we could see then. The low resolution pictures of the (clearer) view don't. The amount of ash pouring from the volcano was amazing.
In the distance to the south, is Semeru, the highest point on Java (12,060 ft). Bromo is at about 7550 ft. Our lookout point was at an elevation of about 8850 ft. (For a better resolution photo of what can look like shortly after sun rise, click here.)
The elevation, dark, wind and dampness made it feel pretty chilly. It was probably somewhere around 50. So, we all bundled up. Here is our whole motley crew.
This isn't our vehicle, but this is the basic idea. It was a little cramped with 8 people (including driver), but it worked since several are still pretty small.

Here we are in the Jeep about 3 hours after we got up. We were awake, warm, and thus, smiling.

Another aside about transportation. We descended to the base of the volcano down the steepest road I've ever seen. It was also full of pot holes, places where it was erroded, and there were a number of places where dirt and rocks from above had partially obstructed it. It was also quite narrow, making passing other vehicles an adventure. I was never frightened, but almost always a bit on edge. The picture doesn't do it justice either. We saw a couple of trucks that weren't four-wheel drive, but I don't know how they could have climbed this road.

Here we are crossing the "sea of sand" to the base of Bromo. In dry season the ground here is white and loose, much more like sand at the beach. Yes, our vehicle was headed the same direction as these Jeeps. We weren't 100% sure this was the best of ideas.

This is as close as we got. Somewhere inside a 1/2 mile. More than 1/4 mile, I think. Usually, you can climb up to and go inside the rim. But it's been much more active since late November, so that part is closed.

I also took a couple of panoramics. The full res versions of these are linked here: up high and down low.

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