The moon may not be officially full until Sunday 5th, February, but the effects are already being felt on Bali’s most popular beaches. Coastguards at Dreamland Beach in South Kuta have issued warnings to tourists to be safe in the sea. Dreamland Beach is one of the few beaches in Bali that operates a flag system to let the public know when it is and isn’t safe to enter the water. Despite this being in place at Dreamland Beach, lifeguards are still observing visitors entering the water.
Speaking to reporters, the Tirta Tourism Rescue Agency (Balawista) Officer, I Wayan Eka Warmantara, explained that the full moon tides on Dreamland Beach should be treated with caution. He explained, “Tidal problems are common here. The tides depend on the full moon, which is usually on the full moon or Tilem days.”
He continued to share that the recent storms and high winds have caused dangerous waves on the popular beach. He described the waves as being ‘unfriendly’ and said that tourists must be vigilant, especially during bad weather.
Warmantara confirmed that the safety flag system is being utilized on Dreamland Beach and urged the public to adhere to warnings. He explained that tidal conditions change quickly and can be deceptive. He added, “maybe you can just sit around, looking away at the sea waves [and it looks safe]. But we keep watching and telling visitors if they don’t pay attention to the red flags,”
There are up to five lifeguards on duty at Dreamland Beach between 7 am and 7 pm. Warmantara shared what a day in the life of a Bali lifeguard is like. He shared that first thing in the morning when he arrives at the beach, he assesses the conditions of the waves. He said, “If the waves are good enough, we will put up a red and yellow flag, meaning this area is safe for swimming, and there are still lifeguards.”
@odikabayu Hiling hiling kesini yuk bestieee 😀 #bali #beach ♬ Wait A Minute! (Duckhead Edit) – Duckhead the Bedroom DJ
He continued, “Here, we have prepared safety equipment such as life jackets and rescue boards. However, our message for visitors is that if you see a red flag on the beach, you should postpone activities at sea, such as swimming, because it will be very dangerous.”
Tourists ignoring the red flag system at the beach is sadly more common than it may first seem. On the 20th of January, the Badung Lifeguard team at Batu Beling Beach in Seminyak had to save a 31-year-old German tourist who had repeatedly ignored both the red flag warnings and verbal reprimands for entering the water.
After ignoring a final warning from lifeguards, the tourist reentered the choppy waves and was dragged underwater by the strong current. Lifeguards were able to reach the tourist, who was quickly exhausted, struggling against the waves. He was taken to the local clinic for a medical assessment.
It remains the case that swimming is prohibited at Nusa Penida’s most popular beaches. Officials on the island have temporarily banned swimming at Kelingking Beach, Diamond Beach, and Angel’s Billabong Beach as callouts to the local Search and Rescue team were starting to mount up. Though officials have confirmed that the beaches remain open, swimming is strictly prohibited until further notice.
Leaders in Nusa Penida have not given any indication as to a prospective date for the ban to be lifted. The situation reminds under review. Bali is in the middle of the rainy season, where storms and strong winds have a devastating impact on conditions at sea. The Regent of Klungkung, I Nyoman Suwirta, is clear that the ban will only be lifted when conditions on the water become calmer and more predictable. He stated clearly, “when the sea is conducive and good, we will reconsider.”
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