SeaTrek's response to the latest eruptions in the first week of July 2018.
While Bali continues its conversation with the great God of the Underworld residing under Mt. Agung, we at SeaTrek Sailing Adventures want you all to have a better idea of what is going on here from our perspective. While some see disruption, we see opportunity, and we are moving mountains (pardon the pun) to ensure that there is minimal disruption to our operations in the event of further volcanic activity. The main point is that whatever Mt Agung decides to do, SeaTrek has contingency plans in place to ensure that all our cruises will definitely go ahead, meaning there is no reason for guests not to book a cruise, or to even be afraid of coming to Indonesia.
We also understand that your time is valuable and that any delays or disruptions in getting to and from your destinations can have significant knock-on effects for your home and business lives. Rest assured, we are going the extra mile to make sure this does not happen.
PLEASE NOTE, AT THE TIME OF WRITING THERE ARE NO GOVERNMENTAL TRAVEL WARNINGS IN PLACE.
BALI IS SAFE
First of all, let us tell you that Bali is as safe as it’s ever been. Despite what you might be seeing on the TV media about our lovely island home, the mountain is not doing much at all apart from letting off steam. There was a good-sized release of ash and steam from the crater, which closed the airport for three days last October, and up until last Friday the 29th June, there had only been the occasional puff of steam and smoke. In October last year the government implemented a 10km radius exclusion zone around the volcano, and many thousands of people were evacuated and were being accommodated in camps with assistance from the government and NGOs. That exclusion zone was reduced to three kilometres early in 2018 with most villagers having returned home. Life in Bali outside the 3km precautionary exclusion zone is safe and very much as it has always been, so we urge you to not be put off by the sensationalism of the TV news and to use your own judgement in deciding about your visit. The airport is more than 70km from the mountain and will only be affected by wandering ash clouds as and when they are present. Remember that the island’s lifeblood is tourism, and they need our help.
WHAT IS HAPPENING UNDER THE MOUNTAIN
Mt Agung rose from a 54-year slumber in September last year with a lot of magma moving up from the mantle looking for a way to escape. Indonesian and foreign experts including volcanologists and geologists have coninued to monitor the situation closely and the official word from them is based on probabilities. While we wish we had a crystal ball to know what the mountain will do, we are relying on the latest information from multiple expert sources from Indonesia and Australia to guide us. We are providing the following links so you can have access to the best and most up-to-date information available regarding the fate of the Balinese people, your holiday plans, airport closures and the day-to-day effects Mt Agung is having on the Island of the Gods.
Airport Updates - http://ngurahrai.bali.bmkg.go.id/
Ash Cloud Advisory - http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/advisories.shtml
Seismic Activity - https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/
Facebook Live Feed https://www.facebook.com/agungvolcanobali/
WHAT ARE SEATREK’S PLANS?
To counter any unforeseen issues with the volcano we at SeaTrek have taken steps to ensure a minimum of inconvenience to our guests.
Flying in to Indonesia
If Bali airport closes we will try to help arrange for all guests to fly to Indonesia via Jakarta or Singapore and then route onwards to join the boats at their start points. Whilst international airlines might cancel flights to Bali, Jakarta is hundreds of miles away from the volcano and and an open airport and arrival is guaranteed. From there it will be very easy to connect with one of the many direct domestic flights to either Bali, Lombok, Maluku, Papua or Labuan Bajo in Flores. Indonesian airlines will be much less affected by airport closures and diversions that international carriers, making it much easier for us to get you to your start and end points.
Dances, Dragons and Magical Lakes cruises
In the event that the airport is closed or the start point of Amed is not available as a result of volcano, we have contingencies in place to deal with any disruptions.
Bali to Komodo
1) As our first precaution, we will move the Bali departure point to Padang Bai, a safe anchorage south of the mountain and well outside the exclusion zone.
2) If conditions in Bali are not optimum we will move the departure point of the cruise to the Gili Islands on the northwest tip of Lombok, 30km from the volcano. Guests will fly direct to Lombok from Jakarta, Singapore or Surabaya and Day One of the itinerary will start as normal in a beachfront resort in the Senggigi tourist area.
Komodo to Bali
1) Guests can fly directly from Jakarta to Labuanbajo to join the cruise.
2) We will end the cruise in either Padang Bai or the Gili Islands, where guests can fly direct from Lombok to Jakarta or Singapore and then onwards to your final destinations.
Cruises after September
For any of our eastern cruises taking place after September, there is absolutely no need to be using Bali as a transportation hub, so Bali’s situation need have no bearing on your holiday plans. Simply fly through Singapore, Jakarta, Surabaya and you know your cruise is guaranteed.
Rest assured, all our cruises will be going ahead! We will take care of any re-routing requirements to get folks to where they need to be.
THE POSITIVES – VOLCANOES ARE SO HOT RIGHT NOW!
One unintended positive consequence of Mt Agung’s rumblings is an increase in volcano tourism, with thousands of enthralled tourists heading to the the mountain to witness what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime event. Indeed, last week's eruption saw a mass of tourist visits to the north of the island and a whole array of video footage was posted on social media as excited tourists enjoyed the one-night spectacle.
This is the kind of positive thinking that we want to encourage. Volcanoes are nothing new to Indonesia, or indeed New Zealand, Italy, the Pacific Northwest, etc., Ecuador, Russia, Central Africa, and are indeed a major attraction. On many SeaTrek cruises we actually take you to sail past or even climb upon them (Banda, Lombok, Sumbawa), swim and paddle board inside one (Satonda), snorkel around them amongst the gas bubbles and thermal waters (Sumbawa, Banda), and watch them erupt from the boat (Mt Api and Mt Komba). There’s nothing quite so awe-inspiring as a volcano, you just have to look positively at the experience and embrace the adventure.
We hope this has gone some way to alleviating fears, concerns, trepidations. It is indeed business as usual for us, as we want to share the pleasures of the archipelago with you all.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us directly for further information either by phone or email. Or consult our Facebook pages or websites where we will post any new information.
+62 361 474 3902 / email@example.com
The SeaTrek Team
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