Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tsunamis:Witness of the Krakatou eruption 1883

8 TsuInfo Alert, v. 5, no. 4, August 2003
An Elderly Dutch Pilot
"An elderly Dutch pilot, employed in guiding ships through the Straits, gave this account of his experience."
I have lived in Anjer all my life, and little thought the old town would have been destroyed in the way it has. I am getting on in years, and quite expected to have laid my bones in the little cemetery near the shore, but not even that has escaped, and some of the bodies have actually been washed out of the graves and carried out to sea. The whole town has been swept away, and I have lost everything except my life. The wonder is that I escaped at all. I can never be too thankful for such a miraculous escape as I had.
The eruption began on the Sunday afternoon [ ed. note:August 26, 1883]. We did not take much notice at first, until the reports grew very loud. Then we noticed that Krakatoa was completely enveloped in smoke. Afterwards came on the thick darkness, so black and intense that I could not see my hand before my eyes. It was about this time that a message came from Batavia [ed. note: Jakarta] inquiring as to the explosive shocks, and the last telegram sent off from us was telling you about the darkness and smoke. Towards night everything became worse. The reports became deafening, the natives cowered down panic-stricken, and a red fiery glare was visible in the sky above the burning mountain.
Although Krakatoa was twenty-five miles away, the concussion and vibration from the constantly repeated shocks was most terrifying. Many of the houses shook so much that we feared every minute would bring them down.There was little sleep for any of us that dreadful night.
Before daybreak on Monday, on going out of doors, I found the shower of ashes had commenced, and this gradually increased in force until at length large pieces of pumice-stone kept falling around. About six a.m. I was walking along the beach. There was no sign of the sun, as usual, and the sky had a dull, depressing look. Some of the darkness of the previous day had cleared off, but it was not very light even then.
Looking out to sea I noticed a dark black object through the gloom, travelling towards the shore.At first sight it seemed like a low range of hills rising out of the water, but I knew there was nothing of the kind in that part of the Soenda [Sunda] Strait. A second glance--and a very hurried one it was--convinced me that it was a lofty ridge of water many feet high, and worse still, that it would soon break upon the coast near the town. There was no time to give any warning, and so I turned and ran for my life. My running days have long gone by, but you may be sure that I did my best. In a few minutes I heard the water with a loud roar break upon the shore. Everything was engulfed.
Another glance around showed the houses being swept away and the trees thrown down on every side.
Breathless and exhausted I still pressed on. As I heard the rushing waters behind me, I knew that it was a race for life. Struggling on, a few yards more brought me to some rising ground, and here the torrent of water overtook me. I gave up all for lost, as I saw with dismay how high the wave still was. I was soon taken off my feet and borne inland by the force of the resistless mass.
I remember nothing more until a violent blow aroused me. Some hard firm substance seemed within my reach, and clutching it I found I had gained a place of safety. The waters swept past, and I found myself clinging to a cocoanut palm-tree. Most of the trees near the town were uprooted and thrown down for miles, but this one fortunately had escaped and myself with it.
The huge wave rolled on, gradually decreasing in height and strength until the mountain slopes at the back of Anjer were reached, and then, its fury spent, the waters gradually receded and flowed back into the sea. The sight of those receding waters haunts me still. As I clung to the palm-tree, wet and exhausted, there floated past the dead bodies of many a friend and neighbor. Only a mere handful of the population escaped. Houses and streets were completely destroyed, and scarcely a trace remains of where the once busy, thriving town originally stood. Unless you go yourself to see the ruin you will never believe how completely the place has been swept away. Dead bodies, fallen trees, wrecked houses, an immense muddy morass and great pools of water, are all that is left of the town where my life has been spent. My home and all my belongings of course perished--even the clothes I am wearing are borrowed-- but I am thankful enough to have escaped with my life, and to be none the worse for all that I have passed through."
(from: Simkin, Tom; Fiske, R. S., 1983, Krakatau 1883--The volcanic
eruption and its effects: Smithsonian Institution Press, 464 p.
reprinted with permission)
1. List of all the verbs of movement (highlighted) and look up their meanings.
2.After reading this story, write one yourself, true or imagined "Terrifying danger"

Monday, January 10, 2005

My ideal Christmas Holidays

I´m going to describe my favourite place to spend (pass) my Christmas holidays. I prefer spendING (pass) my holidays far from my everyday/normal life, where nothing or nobody can... make me remember (reminds me of) obligations, concerns and where I can enjoy myself with my friends. Because I would take with me three or four friends who´d help me to be happy all the holidays.
But I´m going to talk about the place and the journey. I would like the place to be/that the place was near the sea or a river to swim or fish. I like Ireland, although the weather isn´t good for swimming, I like its landscape, with the extensive green fields, the crystalline water of the rivers and the salmon jumping out of them.With my friends I can go to fish them, walk or spend the time watching the landscape.
I have never travelled by plane but I would like to try (prove) it and fly to this wonderful country.

PUMARINO007 Good! 6.5