Sunda Strait Indonesia
Found in the middle of the islands of Sumatra and Java, Sunda Strait Indonesia is the strait that links the Indian Ocean to the Java Sea. It stretches approximately to a south-west/north-east direction, having a smallest width of twenty-four kilometers or fifteen miles at the northeastern-end, flanked by Java’s cape Pujat and Sumatra’s Cape Tua.
Sunda Strait Indonesia makes navigating rather notoriously difficult because of its very deep western end that narrows and becomes much shallower with only a depth of twenty-meters in its eastern-end parts. The very strapping tidal flows, as well as sandbanks and man-made obstructions like oil rigs off the coast of Java, adds to navigation problems encountered by sailors passing through the strait.
Throughout history, Sunda Strait Indonesia has been part of significant shipping route, particularly during the time of the Dutch East India Company that used it as a gateway to Indonesia’s Spice Islands. The shallowness and narrowness of the strait, as well as lack of precise charting makes Sunda Strait Indonesia unsuitable for today’s huge ships, the majority of which take the Strait of Malacca instead.
The strait is speckled with several small islands such as Sebuku, Sangiang, Sebesi, Panaitan, and most especially Krakatau Islands which includes Verlaten, Lang, Krakatau, and Anak Krakatau. These islands found in Sunda Strait, as well as the neighboring regions of Sumatra and Java were seriously affected with the 1883 Krakatau volcanic eruption, particularly due to the huge tsunamis and intense fall of pumice.
These 1883 volcanic eruption was the second largest and drastically altered the strait’s topography, with as much as eighteen to twenty-one kilometer of ignimbrite filling an area around the volcano. Several areas have on no account been resettled, such as Java’s coastal region which has now been incorporated to the Ujung Kulon National Park; however, many of the coastlines is presently very thickly populated.
In 1942, another event made history in Sunda Strait Indonesia, the Battle of Sunda Strait. The battle was part of the bigger “Battle of the Java Sea”, that happened when Allied cruisers USS Houston and HMAS Perth encountered an amphibious landing force of the Japanese near Batavia (presently Jakarta) in the leadership of Rear Admiral Kenzaburo Hara, which had battleships, ten destroyers, three cruisers, and aircraft carriers. The Japanese sunk the two Allied cruisers but a transport vessel and a minesweeper of the Japanese were also sunk through friendly fire.
The Sunda Strait today is the haven of the island remnants of historic volcanic eruptions, as well as a reminder of what was once and still is a great famous strait that served the Dutch trade and many other sea ventures.
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