Despite consistent warnings from Denpasar’s Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BBMKG) sun lounger providers on Melasti Beach in South Kuta saw their livelihoods washed away during yesterday’s high tide.
In a video shared on social media that has since gone viral, sun lounger providers and beach-based vendors can be seen scrambling to save their equipment from the rising swell. Tourists who were enjoying the sunshine can also be seen frantically gathering their belongings before the tide takes them for its own.
According to the Assistant Manager of the Melasti Beach Tourism Management team, I Made Wijana, the saga could have easily been avoided had both vendors and beach visitors listened to the advice of the lifeguards and the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics. The center had been reporting incoming high waves on weather apps and local news.
Yet, despite seeing the tide rising before their own eyes, vendors failed to move their equipment to safety quickly enough.
Thankfully lifeguards and vendors were able to save the majority of the sun loungers and umbrellas from behind whisked away, though some financial losses have been caused. Wijana hopes that this incident will serve as a lesson to beach vendors to listen to the advice of lifeguards and the weather scientists.
This incident only resulted in the damage and loss of a few sun loungers, however, if vendors continue to disregard important warming about ocean safety in the future there could be injuries to their staff or customers. He warned that vendors should not ‘be naughty and stubborn’.
The Head of Denpasar’s Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics, Cahyo Nugroho, spoke to local news outlets to reiterate the warnings. It is high tide season in Bali and he has advised that all visitors to Bali’s beaches, both local and international, watch out for high waves and rapidly changing conditions.
Sharing the field reports from the BBMKG, Nugroho said ‘high waves are expected to occur in the next two days, wherein the North Bali waters the waves range from 0.25 – 1.5 meters. Then, in the Southern waters of Bali, it is estimated to be 1 to 5 meters. While the Bali Strait and Lombok Strait are estimated from 0.75 to 5 meters. The forecast for this high wave will still occur until May 26”. As the new moon approaches tides will continue to fluctuate in unpredictable ways.
He went on to issue warnings to surfers, divers, ocean swimmers, boat operators, and fishermen to be extra cautious on the ocean in the coming says. He shared how the high waves are also caused by fluctuations in the sea surface temperature which is currently ranging from 29-31 degrees celsius.
Beach visitors are reminded to set up their sunbathing spots far from the reaches of the high tide and to not enter the water without telling someone first. The currents are difficult to assess when standing on the shore and are stronger enough to drag even the strongest swimmers under.
Earlier in May a tourist to Canggu Beach was dragged out to sea by the current and is feared to have died. Arman Arifin from Surabaya in Java was visiting the beach with friends who thought that he had returned to the group’s accommodation after taking a swim in the shallow. After searching the area Arifin’s sandals were found on the beach and he was nowhere to be found.
As international tourists return to Bali’s beaches the number of lifeguards on duty will surely being to increase. Not all beaches in Bali have lifeguards, though the popular stretches of the Bali coast from Kuta through Seminyak and onto Canggu generally have lifeguards on duty during high season.
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