Two phreatic eruptions occurred on Mount Merapi on Monday, just 10 days after the first one sent volcanic ash raining down on Greater Yogyakarta.

Although Monday’s phreatic eruption was not as big as the previous one, light volcanic ash still covered several areas of the mountain’s slopes. Officials have banned mountaineers from the mountain’s summit. This, however, has not stopped jeep tour operators from taking visitors to the mountain.

Read also: Disaster agency urges vigilance after two more Merapi eruptions

Arief Prihantoro, the coordinator of the Merapi Sheeva Plateau Jeep Tour cooperative, told tempo.co on Monday, “The jeep tour is still operating [despite the situation].”

He added that the phreatic eruptions, which occurred on May 11, only garnered more interest in the tour. “Usually we have an average of 80 to 100 trips per day. After the eruption, we made about 120 to 160 trips per day.”

Despite the spike, the jeep tour saw a decline during Ramadhan, which is normal. The cooperative now only makes about 10 to 20 daily trips. However, it has a special package during the holy month called “Ngabuburit Trip” (trip to spend time before breaking the fast). “If the tourists want to break their fast after the trip, they can add Rp 50,000 (US$3.52) to get a breakfast menu for four persons in the jeep tour trail,” Arief added. (asw)

 

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