Mount Agung Update (9am 12/7/18)

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Update 12/07/2018 (9am)

Dear Guests,
Mount Agung erupted briefly again, causing the airport to shut from 3am to 2.30pm on Friday 29th June. There followed a number of small ash eruptions in the following days, which caused the forest around the crater of Mount Agung to catch fire, giving some spectacular photo opportunities, but not causing any real concern. Official statement is below. As of today eruptions have ceased again and there has been no change in the danger level (currently 3, below the highest level 4) and the exclusion zone (still only 4km around the crater) which indicates that a future major eruption is still not expected any time soon.
 
Mount Agung Eruption Official report: Pusdalops PB BPBD Bali: On Monday (7/2/2018) from morning to evening, Mount Agung experienced several small eruptions with high volcanic ash around 1,000 meters to 2,000 meters. On Monday night suddenly people around Mount Agung was surprised by the eruption accompanied by a loud explosion accompanied by a flickering of incandescent rock. PVMBG reported that there was an eruption of Mount Agung, Bali on 2/7/2018 at 21:04 WITA with the ash column height observed ± 2,000 m above the peak (± 5.142 m above sea level). The gray columns were observed in gray with a thick intensity leaning towards the west.
This eruption is recorded in the seismogram with a maximum amplitude of 24 mm and a duration of ± 7 minutes 21 seconds. The eruption occurs strombolian with a banging sound. Eruption is explosive throwing lave because there is pressure from inside the crater. Flares of incandescent lava observed out the crater reaches a distance of 2 km. The forest around the summit crater of Mount Agung burned so that the fire was burning quite large in several parts. Pasebaya volunteers reported that lava from the summit of Mount Agung to the eastern to northeastern slopes to the Culik and Dukuh areas of Karangasem regency. It also leads to the west and south. As a result the forest at the top of the crater burned quite broadly. The surrounding community immediately conduct an independent evacuation. Status of Mount Agung remains Standby (level 3) with dangerous radius of 4 km from crater. The observation of Himawari BMKG satellite shows that the dominant spread of volcanic ash leads to the west. Until now I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar Bali is still operating normally. Similarly airports in Banyuwangi, Jember and Lombok.
People are encouraged to remain calm. Do not get hooked on misleading press reports. Use all information related to the volcano of PVMBG as an authorized institution. Mount Agung has installed a full range of early warning system equipment and continues to operate well. Evacuation is done in an orderly manner. People who do evacuation are appealed not to come out of Karangasem regency area but enough in KRB II area to facilitate the handling of refugees. BNPB and BPBD continue to coordinate with PVMBG, BMKG and other parties.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho - Head of Information Data and Public Relations Center of BNPB
 

Update 14/02/2018 (9am)

Dear Guests,
On Saturday 10th of February the alert status for Mount Agung was lowered to ‘3’  from the highest level ‘4’, and the exclusion zone decreased to 4km radius from the crater, effectively allowing almost all local communities to return home.
 
Indonesia’s volcanology centre made the decision after a long period of reduced activity. “The volcanic earthquakes are now… declining significantly,” said government volcanologist Gede Suantika. "The deformation is deflating and getting more stable and the concentration of the volcanic gas spewing into the air is also declining."
 
The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) lowered the alert status and reduced the danger zone after an evaluation meeting attended by the minister of energy and mineral resources Ignasius Jonan and PVMBG, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and Bali Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD).
 
However as of the date of this report, travel insurance companies have not yet removed cover restrictions for Mount Agung, whereas the last time the alert status was adjusted downwards (on October 29th 2017), cover restrictions were removed within 24 hours, so we will continue to monitor this important final decision.
 
On 13th February 2018, however there was another ash eruption however, but as with previous eruptions it caused no disruption to flights. 

 Update 07/02/2018 (9am)

Dear Guests,
nothing to report. The last registered eruption of Mount Agung was on 24th January 2018 according to VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation), and again it was short, had no impact on aviation, and the winds were blowing away from the airport towards the North East.  
 
Given the lack of activity from Agung, we shall now only be updating this page every month, but shall continue to monitor all official sources (and ignore social media!) and will report any change as soon as it happens.

Update 14/01/2018 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
nothing really to report.  There was one ash eruption on 11th January, but it did not last long, and with the wind going to the North, it did not have any impact on flights, and certainly none on the airport.  Agung appears to have settled into a pattern of belching out some short eruptions of ash every week or so, but otherwise little activity.  

The Media seems to have dropped Agung as a story worth reporting about, with only the occasional reports, all using footage of the larger ash eruption back in November last year.

Update 09/01/2018 (9am)

Dear Guests,
Well good news!  On 6th January the Indonesian authorities reduced the exclusion zone around Mount Agung from 8km to 6km. Unofficially we understand that the reason for the reduction is that the risk of stones, sand, gravel and other debris striking areas around the volcano is viewed as being low, given that the eruptions so far have all been ash only.
 
Ash eruptions continued however yesterday (8th January2018) with two seperate eruptions at 2pm and 10pm.  There was however no impact on flights, or on any of our villas. 

Update 05/01/2018 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
Happy New Year! 
 
Again there was a small ash eruption on 3rd January at around 11am, and although this time the prevailing winds were to the South and South West, there was no disruption to flights.
 
As mentioned before, for disruption to flights to occur, several things all need to happen at the same time:
  1. There needs to be an eruption.  There have been only two eruptions of Mount Agung in the past two weeks, and 8 in all since Mount Agung first started erupting back on 21st November 2018. For the vast majority of time there is no significant activity from Agung, except steam.
  2. There needs to have been a sufficiently large amount of ash released by Mount Agung to cause flights to be diverted around Agung.  So far only two eruptions have done so, on 27th November 2018, and on 25th November 2018.
  3. For the airport to be closed the prevailing winds have to be towards the airport (towards the South West).  Only for one of the eruptions in the last two weeks has the wind been in this direction (although it was also towards the South as well).
  4. The winds need to be consistently in the direction of the airport for long enough to reach it (the airport is over 70km away).
So far all of these factors have all occurred together just once, for the eruption back on November 27th 2018.  Even then the airport reopened after just two days. Again this does not mean closure of Bali airport will not occur, I hope though it can give you an idea of the possibility of it happening (source Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation)

Also since the last closure, the Balinese government have realised how significant such a closure is, and so have put in place far more mitigating measures, including standby buses to neighboring airports such as Lombok and Surabaya, both of which would not be affected if the prevailing winds are to the South West as they would need to be to cause the closure of Bali airport.
 
Also we will continue to offer much reduced price accommodation where we have it available for any guests that are stranded for additional nights in Bali as a result of any action of Mount Agung.

Update 24/12/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
Happy Christmas!  There was a small ash eruption today at about 10am, but there was only a small amount of ash, and with pre-vailing winds to the North-East there was no disruption to flights.

Update 17/12/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
There has been no significant change since the last update that would affect travellers to Bali. 
 
There was a small ash eruption on 12th December,  - see the VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) Notice - but the prevailing winds took it to the West, and another on 16th December, this time the prevailing winds took the ash North (see Australian Bureau of Meteorology).  The relatively small amount of ash, and the prevailing winds meant that there was no impact on flights, although airlines continue to rearrange and cancel flights due to the drop in demand, so please check directly with your airline if your flights have been affected.
 
Currently there is no discernable ash eruption, and forecast wind direction at 4200m remains towards the North for the next 5 days (see VentuSky website).
 

Update 8/12/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
There has been no significant change since the last update that would affect travellers to Bali.
 
However tens of thousands of local Balinese remain in evacuation camps as their homes lie within the 10km exclusion zone.  For those that want to help the easiest and most effective thing to do is to just continue with your trip to Bali, as many Balinese work in the tourism sector, and the dramatic drop in tourists, has meant the closure of many hotels and restaurants, and the loss of work or reduction in salaries for many Balinese, right at a time when they most need it.
 
For direct help however we recommend a charity called Project Karma.  Normally Project Karma's focus is on fighting child sexual abuse, for which unfortunately Bali is a major gateway location for traffickers, however Project Karma is now using its local experience on the ground to help support the relief effort.  It does this by directly speaking to leaders of Evacuation Camps and local communities as to what supplies are really needed, and then purchases them locally in Karangasem, so getting even more value from donations.  At the same time Project Karma is running workshops in the camps warning all of the dangers of child sexual abuse, the risk of which greatly increases when people are displaced during natural disasters such as that which is happening with Mount Agung right now.
 
To donate direct to Project Karma click on this PayPal link.  Regular monthly donations are by far the most valuable.
 
To find out more about Project Karma and the work it is doing in Bali and elsewhere check out the Project Karma Website or the Project Karma Facebook Page.

Update 8/12/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
There has been no significant change since the last update.  Wind direction has changed to be towards the North-West, and there was a small ash eruption at 00:30 this morning, but it resulted in no change to any warnings.  Airport is running as normal, as are almost all flights, although there has been a report in Reuters that China has in the past couple of days temporarily grounded all flights to Bali, stating concerns over future possible ash emissions (see - Reuters China Flights Report). 
 
The reason given however does not really make sense, as apart from the small ash emission last night, there have been no ash emissions since 26th November, and Chinese airlines have cancelled flights in January and February 2018.  It is more likely to be because China is seeking to avoid losses by being forced to run flights half full due to the dramatic drop in visitors to Bali in the past few months.  

Update 6/12/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
There has been no significant change since the last update.  Wind direction has changed to be towards the West, but there is no eruption or other activity by Mount Agung right now.  Airport is running as normal, as are almost all flights, although there remain some cancellations due to the significant drop in visitors to Bali right now. 

Update 4/12/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
There has been no significant change since the last update.  The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has actually stopped providing ash reports on Mount Agung (temporarily I assume) as there has been no ash eruptions for several days now.  Wind direction remains firmly towards the South, and is forecast to remain so, and all airlines are now running a normal service.  
 
Please be aware that while this means the chances of disruption to flights are much reduced, Agung remains active, and so the situation can change.  However for flights to be disrupted again as they were before (Bali airport was shut on 28th and 29th November) it requires both an ash eruption from Agung, and for the prevailing winds to change from being to the South to being to South West.  While predicting Agung's action is challenging, wind speed and direction are usually able to be predicted with some accuracy a few days in advance.

Update 3/12/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
There has been no significant change in the past 24 hours. Wind direction remains firmly towards the South, and so out over the open ocean, but there has been only steam coming from Mount Agung for the past few days in any case (see Australian Bureau of Meteorology, which has not been able to detect any ash for the past 48 hours), and so nothing that would affect flights into or out of Bali.  
 
Even Jetstar has returned to running normal scheduled flights to and from Bali (see Jetstar Announcement) as other airlines have been doing for several days now.  

Update 2/12/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
For the past 2 days Agung has been releasing steam only, with no ash eruptions, and no significant seismic activity.  Air is clear, and most flights and airlines continue to run normally (see for example Singapore Airlines Announcement), albeit with some disruption as flights are rescheduled and additional flights added.  The exception appears still to be Jetstar that continues to warn of potential cancellations of some evening flights (see Jetstar Announcement).  
 
There are some absolutely stunning photos of Mount Agung appearing on the internet as tourists increasingly make their way to safe locations close to the mountain to see the mountain for themselves, but for most guests, life continues without any major disruption. 
 
We usually only provide links to direct source information, and do not report on media news items as they can be inaccurate and misleading, sensationalising the eruption in order to sell newspapers.  However the blog from Journalist on the Run is by a journalist actually in Bali, and in our view is a fair and accurate summation of the situation in Bali right now.

Update 1/12/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
most flights now appear to be running as normal, however Jetstar announced suddenly that it was cancelling some flights for evening today (Friday 1st December) (see Jetstar Announcement).  No reason was given for this, and there is nothing obvious that indicates why.
 
Seismic activity continues to be low (See Live Seismogram), and any ash is currently being blown out over the sea and not near either Bali airport, or Lombok Airport (See Australia Bureau of Meteorology).  The wind forecast now continues in this direction for the next few days as well.  Basically despite the continued alarmist stories in the press (particularly in the foreign press), life right now in most parts of Bali is pretty much as it normally is, however of course the situation can still change, and we will keep you updated if it does.

Update 30/11/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
there has been no change in the situation since yesterday. Skies remain clear over Bali, and the airport open.  All airlines appear to be running a normal service today, with regular departures and arrivals to all the usual locations.(see Bali Airport Flight Schedule). As an example Jetstar has confirmed that it will be running 10 scheduled flights today, and 6 additional relief flights to help passengers that have been stranded in Bali for the past two days.
 
Seismic activity has dropped since yesterday (see https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/live/seismogram/) however the volcano continues to belch ash and smoke, and it remains a possibility that the airport may shut again if the wind direction changes.  Current forecast is for high altitude winds to continue blowing to the South for the next 12 hours, before changing to blow to the West, but by the morning of 2nd December they are forecast to be back in a direction that may affect the airport.  Predicting wind patterns is difficult however, as there are different wind patterns at different altitudes, and this forecast is based on an altitude of 3600m (see Ventusky Website).
 
We are now actively monitoring the ash situation at all our villas, but the simple (but effective) method of putting out a white plate and seeing if it collects ash.  As of today there are no signs of any ash at any of our villas, including those in Ubud and Candidasa. 

Update 29/11/2017 (3pm)

Dear Guests,
with the change in the winds, Bali airport has formally announced that it reopened at 14:28 today 29th November 2017 (see Bali Airport Twitter Account). 
 
The aviation colour warning has been reduced from Red to Orange (https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/vona/)
 
This does not however mean that flights will be re-instated, as it remains up to each individual airline whether to restart their flights or not, so please check directly with your airline, however it appears that most plan to restart flights tomorrow, and run additional flights to be able to clear the back-log of tourists stuck in Bali.
 
Airline announcements:
* AirAsia (28/11) - https://goo.gl/e1qEwS

Update 29/11/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
As expected Bali airport extended its closure for a further 24 hours until 7am 30th November. 
 
However the potentially good news is that the high altitude winds appear to be changing from being a North-Easterly (that blows the ash at high altitude directly towards the airport) to coming directly from the North (which blows the ash due South towards Nusa Penida, and not in the direction of the airport).  This change can be seen in the various websites that monitor this such as https://www.ventusky.com/?p=-8.451;115.269;9&l=temperature-700hpa&t=2017... and the aeronautical navigation maps at https://skyvector.com/?ll=-8.7475,115.169166667&chart=301&zoom=2 so if this continues it is probable the airport will re-open.
 
By the way you can check how insurance companies are covering (or not covering) delays and costs due to Mount Agung, dependent on the date that you took out your insurance by going to https://www.finder.com.au/balis-mount-agung-volcano-is-finally-erupting.
 
Lombok International airport is currently open, and so offers an alternative exit route from Bali, but Surabaya airport (about 12 hours away) still remains the exit-route of choice for guests that urgently need to exit Bali.  Bali Airports are laying on free buses from the Airport to Padang Bai port (with ferries to Lombok) and free buses to Mengwi Bus Station (with buses to all locations) and also buses direct from Bali airport to Surabaya airport at a cost of Rp 300,000/person. 

Update 28/11/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
Mount Agung continues to belch smoke and ash today, but there has been no change since yesterday in the government travel advisory warnings from countries such as Australia (http://smartraveller.gov.au/bulletins/Pages/Mount-Agung-Volcano.aspx) and the UK (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia).
 
Airlines such as Singapore Airlines have already cancelled all flights to Bali tomorrow (29th November) and are offering to rebook any passengers booked to fly to Bali between now and 4th December, but have so far not cancelled flights after 29th November (see https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/media-centre/news-alert/?id=jagtpdz3).  Other airlines such as Jetstar have also cancelled all flights tomorrow (http://www.jetstar.com/au/en/travel-alerts#Several Wednesday Bali flights cancelled) whereas Garuda is still waiting to see the situation (https://www.garuda-indonesia.com/au/en/news-and-events/travel-alert.page?).
 
We have said before, but it is worth repeating, most areas of Bali are not currently affected directly by Mount Agung and life continues as usual.  This includes almost all areas that tourists visit and stay, most of which are more than 80km from the crater and far from the 10km exclusion zone (e.g Seminyak, Canggu, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua etc.).  We spoke today to some Balinese friends whose village is actually inside the exclusion zone, and they have chosen to continue to stay there, and commute each day to their jobs in Amlapura as usual, so while clearly the eruption will have a dramatic impact in some parts within the 10km exclusion zone, even for some within it, life continues as usual.

Update 28/11/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
Bali airport will be shut for at least a further 24 hours and situation will be reviewed again at 7am 29th November (see official notice here from Airport Authorities - https://bali-airport.com/id/berita/index/28-nov-2017-penutupan-bandara-i...). 
 
High altitude winds have changed, and are now blowing towards the airport (https://www.ventusky.com/?p=-8.451;115.269;9&l=temperature-500hpa), which means it is probable that the closure could be extended.  
 
Guests who overstay their visa appear to be able to have their overstay fees waived if they get a letter from their airline (Surat Permohonan).  Currently for those that do wish to leave, the closest international airport is Surabaya, which is about 11 hours journey from Bali by bus/taxi.  There is also a smaller airport at Banyuwangi, about 6 hours away, but that only has flights to Surabaya and Jakarta.

Update 27/11/2017 (9pm)

Dear Guests,
Unfortunately it is looking like the wind direction is shifting, and is now more likely to affect Bali airport than before - see http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDD65300.shtml.  Next announcement is expected tomorrow morning (28th Nov) now.  

Update 27/11/2017 (9am)

Dear Guests,
the Indonesian government has raised the alert level for Mount Agung from Alert level 3 to Awas (Danger) Level 4 (see https://www.bnpb.go.id/home/detail/3540/AWAS-GUNUNG-AGUNG,-STATUS-DINAIK...) and has now extended the exclusion zone from 7.5km to 10km from the crater rim.  
 
In the past few minutes, we have received formal notice that Bali Airport has now been shut until 7am on 28th November 2017 while they assess the situation (please see notice here https://scontent.fbkk9-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/23905754_128860481138946_6276949066873180094_n.jpg?oh=19fa1c8bd1fbcbad7c8568f8955808fc&oe=5AD0BD3C).  The flight arrivals and departure details given on the link below therefore are now no longer valid.
 
As of today we have closed Villa Bukit Klesih until 8th December as it lies just outside of the exclusion zone (hence the fantastic views of Mount Agung - see photo above), but all our other properties lie a long way away, with the next closest being our Candidasa villas (Villa Talia Vashti and Villa Anjani) which are 25km away and separated by a small mountain range. All other villas, like the airport, are more than 80km away, and at this stage are not affected at all by the eruption.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation, and update you as soon as we have more news.

Update 26/11/2017 (7pm)

Dear Guests,
Qantas/Jetstar flights are now departing Bali again, but AirAsia and AirAsia X have now cancelled or delayed some flights, but all other flights appear still to be running as usual, so please check with them directly if you have flights booked.  Official warning level for Mount Agung remains unchanged, but the aviation colour warning has been increased from orange to red (see https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/vona/display?noticenumber=2017AGU18) which means that an eruption is imminent or already happening and so ash is likely (see http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/kvert/color_eng.php definition) however it leaves it up to individual airlines to decide whether it needs to take action.  
 
Currently however due to the wind and weather conditions (see windfinder link below), Bali International Airport is currently not viewed as being in immediate danger (for an up to date chart on flying restrictions check out https://skyvector.com/?ll=-8.7475,115.169166667&chart=301&zoom=2)

Update 26/11/2017 (1pm)

Dear Guests,
please be advised that on 21st November there was a small eruption from Mount Agung, and yesterday (25th November) there was a further eruption, this time a little larger.
 
Mount Agung is located well away from all the main tourist areas, and at the moment there has been no change in the advice from the Indonesian Government, and the alert level of the National Disaster Management Authority for Indonesia remains unchanged at the second highest level, and below the "Danger" level.  The formal travel advice from the Australian government, has been updated, but has not changed at this time (see http://smartraveller.gov.au/bulletins/Pages/Mount-Agung-Volcano.aspx) and advises tourists not to enter the 7.5km exclusion zone around the crater.
 
Despite this, the Australian carriers Jetstar/Qantas and Virgin cancelled flights departing Bali last night as a safety precaution.  So far no other airline has done the same, and all other flights are operating as usual, including somewhat bizarrely Jetstar/Qantas and Virgin flights coming into Bali.  Full details can be found here (https://www.baliairport.com/flight-status-arrivals-departures/).  If you are on Qantas/Jetstar or Virgin, please check with your carrier directly as to the current status, however given the actual position (see below) we would hope to see their limited restrictions lifted very soon.
 
The airport is more than 80km from the crater of Mount Agung, and at the moment it is very unlikely that flights would actually be directly affected by the eruption due to the distance away, the relatively small amount of ash that the eruption has caused, and also as the winds currently are blowing towards the North and East, not towards the South and West where the airport lies (see https://www.windfinder.com/#9/-8.7494/115.1614).
 
For now in order to help, we are offering for any guests that are forced by their airlines action to stay in Bali, where we have accommodation available, then we are offering a special local price of IDR 3 million (for groups of guests of 8 guests) IDR 2 million/night (for groups of 4 or more guests) and IDR 1 million (for groups of less than 4 guests), payable directly to the villa.  This rate only applies for existing guests delayed by their airlines, and for larger groups than 8 persons at Villa Wiljoba, we would have to add a further small surcharge due to the high running costs of that villa.
 
We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops.
 
All the best
Tom & Rene
 
Kid Friendly Villas /Secluded Bali Villas