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August 20, 2005

Pirates and Monkeys

DAY: 66
LOCATION: Sumbawa Island - Gunung (volcano) Tambora
LATITUDE : S 8 degs, 16.38'
LONGITUDE: E 118 degs, 12.16'

We've taken some good chunks out of the chart this past few days to get the expedition back on schedule (currently a week behind). All revolves around our visa renewals from now on. We need to reach Bali around the 4th/5th Sept for our 2nd visa renewal at the immigration office in Kuta (oh joy). We then have 30-days to bike across Java for our third (and hopefully last) renewal in the capital Jakarta which should be enough to finish the trip to Singapore.

We took an especially big chunk out of the chart today to cut across a bay in which an incident of piracy occured in the southern part by the village of Sanggar just a few weeks ago. According to some tourists we met in Labuan Bajo their boat was accosted by a speedboat (posing as police) and held hostage for 8 hours with a demand of $500 US (an incredible sum of money for around here - they should have been a little more realistic!). Anyway, the tourists apparently refused to pay and were eventually let go. I very much doubt something like this would be repeated twice in the same month, but we decided on giving Sanggar a wide berth nonetheless.

Tonight we're camped on the shores of Tambora volcano that makes up a huge peninsular jutting out from the north Sumbawan coast. In 1815 it blew it's top off sending 150 cubic kilometres of debris into the air and killing some 20,000 people outright and a further 80,000 odd subsequently due to famine and disease (a massive number for back then - bigger than Krakatau). More on this smoking monster in April's next update in 2-days time (if the computer battery lasts). Oh, for teachers and students reading this there should be some lesson activities posted on the educational blog section (see right hand nav bar on this page) for Komodo dragons.

There's a huge monkey sitting about 15 feet away from me ('Ouch, not you April!').

Posted on August 20, 2005 10:41 AM