Hidden in the most eastern part of Java is a peninsula of approximately 44,000 hectares that is home to the Alas Purwo National Park. There are 2 distinguishing features about this area, the highs and the lows. Both provide a challenge for humans to reach their best.
The Highs. At the top of the active volcano that towers over the park is a crater which provides a magnificent view over the whole area. From the West looking across the mountain ranges that hold Mount Bromo and the valley that shelters Borobudur temple and to the East, Bali, the land of paradise. Getting to see this view is a real adventure in itself as you will have to take a path that is not well walked by foreigners.
The ascent is a peaceful one that takes you though jungle and desolate areas that echo that this is an active volcano with scarred earth and ridges of ancient lava flows. When you reach the crater you are struck with the immense lake that hides within, it is over 1 km wide and it is said to be almost 1 km deep. The lake has been formed through centuries of trapped rainwater, yet do not for a second think you can go for a swim. Depending on the volcano’s emotion the waters change colour like a giant mood stone from blues to greens to yellows.
After you have soaked in the views you will realize that you are not alone in fact there is a small army working away carrying huge boulders of sulphur from the crater to the base of the volcano where it is sold. This job is dangerous and back breaking. The better sources of sulphur are found closer and closer to the waters edge and force the workmen to venture deeper into the toxic gases that are emitted from the beast. The workmen themselves become photo opportunities as their faces speak of years of hard labor and toil.
The Lows. Grajagan Bay is home to a huge variety of birds and waders that use the water inlets as their hunting grounds. Yet the shores of the local beach are pounded by the same waves that hit Bali’s Southern coast and result in 4-meter high breaks. This area provides albeit a more basic alternative to Bali but one that has less of the crowds and more of the great surf. If you want to escape the throngs of people that are at other surf spots then Grajagan Bay is a great option.
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