Since our last Mt Agung Bali Volcano update the mountain has been rather quiet. That was, until yesterday. Starting yesterday the volcano has now been belching out a rather steady stream of small eruptions. These are by no means anything like the ones at the end of November, however, ash has reached to 2000m. Although not violent or fast moving eruptions, these small ones are occurring every few hours. They have not impacted the flight of airlines whatsoever and the airport has remained open.
One interesting thing to note today is the amount of ash that can be seen near the top of the volcano on the live feed camera from Bukit Asah. It looks like they have replaced the wide lens with a narrower lens which gives a clearer view of Agung. If you do check out the camera, be aware of the constant annoying shaking! The shaking isn’t from earthquakes but is from wind movement. The camera is high up on a cell phone tower just north of Candidasa and south of Amlapura.
With the increase in these “burps” there has also been an increase in small tremors as well. It’s very interesting to look at the seismograph that is online on the Magma website and to see how often tremors occur. There is a photo posted on a forum on Facebook a comparison of the crater of Agung in October as well as 7 December. This photograph gives an amazing view of the newly formed magma dome which is filling the crater. I will link to the photo here but many may not be able to see it due to it being posted on a group in Facebook called the Bali Travel Forum. Crater Before and After Photo
Should I Travel to Bali?
Although the volcano has not had a violent eruption, and that most of Bali remains safe, there is now a severe lack of tourism happening on the island. Most hotels are now at 10% or less occupancy, typical of this time of year should be closer to 40%. Many businesses and individuals are suffering due to lack of business. This is a hard one to deal with to be honest. Although most of Bali is safe from a major eruption (other than the ash cloud) the largest problem is that potential visitors cannot get travel insurance any longer and the unknown status of future flights is scaring people away. Not everyone can spend an extra 3 or 4 days stuck in Bali if the airport shuts again and so thousands of people have been changing their travel plans. This could go on indefinitely.
One of the things this has created though is a big social media battle between people saying that “Bali is Safe” and those saying “Bali is Not Safe”. What is the real answer? As long as people stay away from Agung Bali will be relatively safe, however, travel interruptions can potentially be a large disturbance for visitors. Do you have time to spare and spending a few more days in Bali or traveling overland to Surabaya is not an issue? Then Bali is a safe option. A visit to Bali is not the best bet if a return date is not flexible
Distances are Measured in Straight Lines
One thing we would like to clear up is the distances between major tourist destinations and the mountain itself. For some reason, many of the graphics showing up on social media show distances such as 50km to Ubud and 61km to Sanur. These distances are measured using Google Maps, which shows distance based on driving along a road. Attached are the true straight line distances for the airport, Ubud, and Sanur Beach.
To summarize, there has been an increase in activity over the last 3 days with more tremors and ash eruptions. There has not been any major events though and daily life in most of Bali remains normal. However, please don’t forget the tens of thousands of evacuees for whom life is no longer normal. Feel free to visit any number of NGOs which are supporting these people and donate what you can.
Once again, we wait and will update if anything major happens.