It had been six months since Phil and Iva started sailing around Sumatra when they arrived at the southernmost tip of the gargantuan island. Their engine had failed them, and the couple had been sailing against the wind for a few weeks, struggling to keep their morale up. Their adventures date back to 2012, when both Phil and Iva decided to quit their city jobs to pursue their dream of living on a sailboat. The couple’s first years of travelling full-time around Southeast Asia took them up and down the west coast of Malaysia and Thailand, where they discovered idyllic islands and limestone cliffs surging out of pristine waters. Aside from helping them become more confident sailors, Phil and Iva’s travels have likewise brought them face-to-face with some incredible characters from all walks of life, who inspired them to start working on a documentary series called Dreamcatchers.  

In their search for inspiring stories of people similarly living the dream, the couple decided to explore further by sailing down the West Coast of Sumatra. “This new territory was tough—with very unfamiliar coastlines, large swell, and hard navigation—but we met some incredible people living alternative lives,” the couple shares. “After filming episode five, in which we interviewed a young conservation specialist named Maria, we rounded the southern tip of Sumatra and sailed into the Sunda Strait situated between Sumatra and Java. We then arrived at the single most amazing place we have ever dropped anchor.”

Rising proudly out of the water, Phil and Iva looked out from their boat at Anak Krakatau Volcano. This active volcano is known as the child of Krakatau, after having emerged from the eruption of the original Krakatau Volcano in 1883. It was the biggest explosion in modern history that left behind this smaller active volcano, which has been rising since 1930 at the rate of seven metres per year.

Anak Krakatau and Rakata Kecil offers unique opportunities: the experience of being completely isolated; the chance of climbing up an active volcano; and the possibilities of exploring one of history’s biggest eruptions, walking along a black sand beach, and snorkelling in a completely different underwater environment.  

Anak Krakatau is a sight to marvel at. Surrounded by water and rising majestically towards the sky, it is always crowned by soft smoke that gently dissipates into the blue-sky backdrop. Phil and Iva filmed the volcano from every angle—Dreamcatchers had found a new muse! In front of the volcano is an island known as Rakata Kecil, an uninhabited island with fine black volcanic sand, which is perfect for sunset views of the volcano.

“Being anchored between Anak Krakatau and Rakata Kecil, we felt like we’ve have been transported to prehistoric times, when dimensions were otherworldly and nobody roamed the planet,” recall Phil and Iva. “We were alone for days on end in this amazing anchorage, left to freely discover the area.” The underwater life in the island is also breathtaking. Considering how the volcanic eruption resulted in black sand, snorkelling there is a completely different experience. The couple swam and looked down at the black backdrop from which sprung vibrant soft coral.  The contrast between the bright yellows, pinks, and whites of the coral against the black sand is mesmerizing.

The Krakatau volcanic site is accessible by boat from West Java or Southern Sumatra (Lampung). Anak Krakatau is one of the stars of Dreamcatchers, which will start airing on 21 June 2017 on ABS-CBN Lifestyle in the Philippines, with more countries to come soon.

Text by Natasha Zolotareva
Photos courtesy of Phil and Iva

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