Heart of Toba book in Paperback and Kindle!

Toba Batak dancers in traditional regalia  perform bowl dance

Baligé Traditional Dancers Ceremonial dance of the bowls at Baligé museum Lake Toba (Chapter 7)

Lake Toba in North Sumatra is the world’s biggest caldera lake. The lake partly fills the massive hole left following the eruption of one of the earth’s six active super-volcanoes, some 74,000 years ago. After the caldera filled with water, magma began to push the lake floor up into a resurgent dome, creating Samosir Island, the Heart of Toba.

“…when Toba blew up some 74,000 years ago it dwarfed even Yellowstone, ejecting 2,800 cubic kilometers of material."  Imagine a tract of land 14 kilometers by 14 kilometers square, and 14 kilometers tall, blown out by a volcano.  "Ash buried areas of central India, nearly 5,000 km away, up to six meters deep.

It was the equivalent of more than 18 Mount Tamboras, or 2,800 Mount St Helens erupting together in one place.”

Map location of Lake Toba on Sumatra

Lake Toba on world map

“Before we reached the village, we were reduced to bending double. Only by crouching down could we squeeze along the vague tunnel through the tangle of dense overgrown foliage: grasses, bracken, shrubs, and creepers, more than twice my height. Doubled over like this was a poor posture for good all-around vision. I could no longer effectively watch out for snakes.”

“…There are two types of cobra in Sumatra, the king cobra, Ophiophagus Hannah, and the Sumatran spitting cobra, Naja sumatran. Both can be deadly.”

Videographer Tandon, Don Seco

Tandon: Don Seco Heart of Toba videographer.

Film Heart of Toba by Tandon, Don Seco. ENGLISH SUBTITLES can be enabled in YouTube settings (bottom near right) once movie starts.


Gradually the fabric of Toba life begins to emerge as Foster gathers the threads, weaving together the history, geology, wildlife, and the personal stories, into a compelling picture of life at the Heart of Toba.

Paperback and Kindle

map of Lake Toba with Samosir Island

Lake Toba and Samosir Island. Samosir Island is known as the Heart of Toba

By sea kayak the expedition circled the Heart of Toba, Samosir Island, once home to 200 often warring kingdoms.
Headhunters and cannibals once discouraged visitors. Lake Toba was not on the map, nor seen by an uneaten European, until the mid 1800s.

Author: Nigel Foster

Nigel Foster is a British author and an internationally renowned sea kayaker. He is known for his paddling exploits, which inspires his writing, and for his instruction, designs of kayaks and equipment. He lives in Seattle USA with his wife, the ceramicist Kristin Nelson.

Engrossed in kayaking since his early teens, Foster followed his passion into a lifetime of travel adventures. His reputation has generated unique opportunities, and many of the captivating experiences that inspire his storytelling. 

His recent books include the Labrador and Ungava adventure: On Polar Tides, and the kayaking inspired essays from around the globe: Encounters from a Kayak. His latest guidebook: Paddling Southern Florida, features more than fifty of Southern Florida’s finest paddling trips. Of special note to kayakers is his definitive instructional manual, The Art of Kayaking. His recent: Kayak across France is an entertaining account of his canal and river journeys from north to south, east to west.

You can find out more at nigelkayaks.com

​​​​​​​Also posting on Instagram: nigel_kayaks_world

Nigel Foster in Indonesia
Nigel Foster
Author of Heart of Toba Amazon Author