Indonesia: Expedition in Forgotten Lands by the Iris Foundation
IN WHICH WE FIND IN A DIGNIFIED ATMOSPHERE
OF THE KINGDOM OF MORDOR
July 28, 2015
After a relatively hectic night of navigation, we arrive at 5 a.m. with a view to Komba, a volcanic mountain isolated from the Sea of Florès. This volcano is known for its punctuality, it spits every 10 minutes a thick plume of smoke in a deafening atmosphere. We had dreamed several times in the night of its rumble before the hour. In fact this morning there, it is quite calm and its reddening at night is not very spectacular. It will be necessary to wait for the first morning lights for volcanic activity to really resume.
We then reach the other side of the island and disembark on a small black sand beach where four fishermen from Sulawesi have settled. They are tough workers, engraved, ragged, a little shy but also smiling. We take photos of their camp: a tarp as a shelter and bamboo poles as dryers for their fish, duly opened in half and cleaned after spending 24 hours in a salt mat.
Thus treated, these creatures inspire the most terrifying science fiction stories. With the volcano which regularly spits ash like a mephitic breath, it feels like the Kingdom of Mordor.
In fact they are tuna, marlins, ... paid 35,000 rupees per kilo dry. The catches are about 400 kg over the 28 days they have already spent there. With their small boat, it takes a week to get there and as much to return. We therefore count around 250 € per month and per person which is a good salary. But what an ecological and economic waste: these beautiful fish, dirty and covered with ashes unfortunately, will be used in animal meal! We will give the fishermen the remaining pancakes and toast from the breakfast.
On the other side of the island the eruptions intensify. We hear like small gravel falling on the beach, it's volcanic dust. Christophe, who had sent the drone very high above the sea to take overall views of the island, brings it back to the beach by starting a slow gradual descent.
Unfortunately a grain of volcanic sand falls on a lever of the remote control and blocks it in the descent position. The drone dives towards the sea, arrives a few tens of centimeters from the surface of the water. But whew, Christophe manages to unlock it in time!
We return to the side of the island where the eruptions take place. This time the show is there. The volcano explodes at regular intervals and we hear the long-awaited rumblings.