Diving on hold as volcano rumbles

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Diving on hold as volcano rumbles

Dive resorts within a 7.5-mile radius of Bali's landmark Mount Agung have been evacuated, amid fears that the giant active volcano is about to erupt.

Tulamben on the Indonesian island's north-east coast is a popular area for diving, and includes the famed Liberty shipwreck.

Siddhartha Ocean Front Resort & Spa told Divernet that it had evacuated all its guests overnight on 22/23 October, when the National Disaster Management Authority raised the volcanic alert to its highest level of 4.

Hundreds of tremors have been recorded since the start of the week but “so far the volcano is only emitting water vapour and rumbling – let’s hope for the best over the next couple of days,” said Stefanie Völkers of Werner Lau Hotels & Diving Centres, which runs the Siddhartha resort.

Werner Lau's other resorts further west are unaffected.

More than 75,000 inhabitants and tourists have been evacuated, with many people living in temporary shelters. Mt Agung last erupted in 1963, but because there was little warning at that time more than 1000 people died.

Power has been cut to the evacuated areas, though at Siddhartha staff equipped with dust-glasses and respirators have continued to work on a voluntary basis to keep the resort maintained.

Flights to Bali are currently unaffected, but should Mt Agung erupt ash-clouds could disrupt flights. In that event divers due to visit other parts of Bali should seek advice from their airline or travel agent.

*  MEANWHILE IN THE hurricane-ravaged Caribbean, Aquanauts Grenada has launched an appeal for Dominica, the popular diving island that suffered immense destruction when it was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria recently.

“It will take years for Dominica to recover from the severe damage,” says Aquanauts. “We have lived through a similar disaster [on Grenada] and know how important first, quick aid is.”

The dive-centre has set up a link for donations, and says that 100% of funds will go to providing food and other urgently needed supplies to people in need. Its appeal page is here.

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