I’ve safely returned from a vacation on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Last Wednesday, our departing flight from Singapore was delayed due to a… VOLCANO. That’s a first! The volcano had erupted on Tuesday so Silk Air wanted to wait until the coast was clear before attempting to land in Manado. Good choice. We arrived late, but without incident, and saw no signs of volcanic activity.

Overall, the vacation was an explosively good time, in more ways than one. Trips in this region are always so educational, and even more so now that we’re scuba certified and get to see the other half of the world from below the surface. I’ve returned from Manado with all kinds of new thoughts and questions in my head, and a huge appreciation for marine parks.

Speaking of below the surface, Indonesia is literally a hotbed of active volcanoes. Who knew? Upon finishing a scuba dive last week off the coast of Manado, I was startled by a loud, muffled explosion I heard from the dive boat. It sounded really big and deep and far away, but the origin of the sound was a mystery until our dive master pointed to the sky above Manado. Mount Lokon had just expelled a giant pyrocumulus cloud of ash, smoke and gas from its belly. Quite a sight, and impeccable timing! I got a pretty cool photo. Erupting volcano? Check.

Mount Lokon is a twin stratovolcano. Mount Empung is its other half. Double, double, toil and trouble! But these twins are just two siblings in a large Indonesian family of over 100 (over 100!) active volcanoes. Here’s a USGS OMG (oh my god there are a lot of volcanoes here) graphic that pinpoints some of them:

They’re EVERYWHERE. Some active, some dormant, some large, some small like cones poking above the surface of the water. This truly is a ring of fire.

More details and photos coming soon of the vacation, hotel, sunsets, dolphins and marine park. Until then… fire burn and caldron bubble.

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