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As controller for Ketimbang, one of William Bering’s responsibilities was to report large tremors to his superiors in Batavia, but having no clue where the tremor had come from, or what had caused it, he was unaware of the danger that lay only 23 miles out to sea.

Just before midnight on 9th May 1883 intense pressure building deep beneath the earth’s crust broke through the line of weakness directly below Krakatoa. Magma moving towards the surface split the crust apart creating a large tremor. The lighthouse keeper at Forth Point Lighthouse saw the sea freeze, becoming calm and flat for an instant. What he witnessed is now recognised as the first documented warning sign of the beginning of Krakatoa’s 1883 eruption.

To momentarily freeze the waters of the Sunda Strait required incomprehensible geological forces. After 200 years of dormancy Krakatoa was about to wake from its slumber.

Clip from the docudrama “Krakatoa”.

Watch it here –