Still heading east on the Island of Flores on the Trans-Flores Highway, we passed small communities harvesting rice fields. The entire village pitches in to harvest one field after another. Remote villages in this area use big, open sided trucks for local transport. It wasn’t long before Mount Ebulobo Volcano was in front of us, smoking up a storm. I’m sure you know Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. This Ring of Fire stretches for 40,000 kilometers/25,000 miles in a horseshoe shape, and is associated with volcanic belts and tectonic plate movements under the earth’s crust. The Ring of Fire has 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes.
Indonesia has 130 active volcanos, more than any other country in the world. The Lesser Sundra Islands have 22-24 volcanoes (depends who you listen to), while Flores’ most active volcano is Mount Ebulobo (“Grand Father Mountain”). Ebulobo is a stratovolcano (a large, steep volcano built up of alternating layers of lava and ash or cinders), and always smoking. This volcano has eight former eruption sites and three lava plugs. (Steve and I had a great experience hiking up Mount Bromo in Java two years ago.)
It is possible to hire a guide and climb Mount Ebulobo from Boawae. This usually calls for an overnight on the mountain. and then a two-hour, early morning climb to the summit. Again, Ricardos has been there, done it with many different groups. Boawae also has unusual boxing rituals from May to August during harvest festivities. Men put on gloves studded with broken glass…eeww… Don’t want to see that but did enjoy standing along the road, watching Ebulobo belch smoke.
A blue stone beach was next on the road to Ende. I noticed what I thought were sacks of blue stones along the highway, and people walking on the beach collecting them. They were naturally occurring blue stones. Some in the lightest shades of turquoise while others were a little darker. These blue stones are only found along this particular section of the Flores coast. Locals collect and sell for export to use in buildings and as building material. I was chomping at the bit to get out of the car and load up a bag with these beauties, but no sooner had the driver parked, and my feet hit the sand when the skies opened up. I scooped up one handful and dashed back into the car, mourning over blue stones left behind all the way to Ende. Steve was secretly thrilled, envisioning a suitcase filled with rocks.
Lunch at Mentari Hotel & Restaurant in Ende to slurp down a fast dish of fried rice before continuing to Moni. Ricardos stopped in front of a restaurant to show me a sign with pictures of a pig and dog. That kind of sign shows people exactly what is being served inside; pig and dog
The rain didn’t stop until we drew closer to Moni, the jump off point to see the colored lakes of Kelimutu Volcano. Visitors usually visit early in the morning but our thinking was to walk up now if it was clear (it wasn’t) since there is never a guarantee that you’ll actually see the lakes. No one has to tell us about rising early in the morning for sunrises, lakes, craters and whatever else! Every single one has always been a “no show” thanks to clouds, rain, yadda-yadda, while we usually stood freezing butts in the early morning air.
This was getting very depressing.