Terrorist fears for Bali, our next stay in our travels…

The sun was peeking through the clouds casting this glow at the beach. Of course, the scene would have been more impressive had it not been so late in the evening.

We’re scheduled to arrive in Bali at the Denpasar Airport on April 30th, a mere 53 days from today.  Yesterday, Tom noticed a change in ports of call for the Celebrity Solstice, a ship on which we’ve sailed twice when he was reading travel concerns at cruisecritic.com. 

Here’s yesterday’s cruisecritics.com news article which in part, stated as follows:
“(11:47 p.m. AEST) — Celebrity Solstice canceled its scheduled stop in Bali today due to the “potential for terrorist attacks” in Indonesia.

In a letter distributed to passengers over the weekend, shared with the Celebrity Cruises board by Cruise Critic member NorbertsNiece , the ship’s master, Captain Yannis Berdos, said the situation had been closely monitored since sailing from Fremantle, Western Australia. 
“The most recent information in the past few days, indicate that the possibility of an incident in Bali has increased. Also, the Balinese New Year is March 9 and recent past advisories have named this date as one that could be targeted by terrorists,” Captain Berdos wrote.”

The beach at Opunake slightly before dark, when we visited a few nights ago.

Immediately, we got to work checking news stories, researching the map, and reading as much as we could find about the imminent risk.  In reviewing the map the only area where we’ll be concerned is upon arrival in the Denpasar area, one of the high-risk areas listed in the threat.

A news story from an Australian media source stated:

“BALI police are investigating a threatening letter that claimed Islamic State militants were ready to bomb the island.

The letter has also prompted police to tighten security across Bali’s seaport, airport, and crowded areas that are popular with tourists.

The note was delivered to a government office in northern Bali just days after the Jakarta attacks that left eight people dead, including four civilians and four terrorists.  According to reports, the note stated: “Our members are currently present in Denpasar and Singaraja” and threatened “to blow up these cities in the name of Allah.”

“Our members are currently present in Denpasar and Singaraja,” it said. The letter also warned they would “attack shopping centers, offices and tourism destinations.”

When driving along the coast, we often try to make our way to these scenes of sun peeking through dense clouds. 

The property we’re renting in Bali is 120 km, 75 miles, from Denpasar Airport.  Yesterday, we arranged a private luxury van to transport us from the airport to the villa.  We’d read a few reviews that past guests had arranged a car to transport them, suffering uncomfortably in an old vehicle without AC during the long, almost four-hour drive on rough roads. 

For a mere NZ $18, US $12 more than the cost of the car without AC, we could arrange the luxury van. At this point, we don’t know the degree of luxury in that van but we can only hope for some degree of comfort. If not, so be it. 

We’ll be relieved once we get off the plane, collect our luggage, go through immigration and hightail out of that airport and be on our way to the property. Unquestionably, we’ll be avoiding any popular tourist venues while in Bali based on the high degree of risk in heavily populated areas.

Our new camera is able to zoom in further for this distant cloudy evening shot.

Did we consider changing our plans?  Not at this point. We’ll continue to monitor the news, checking travel warnings at the US Department of State, which as of this morning hasn’t posted any travel warnings for Bali.  Then again, on their homepage, they’re still highlighting 2015 weather conditions. This source may no longer be a reliable for our use.

Are we frightened?  We try not to be frightened instead taking every measure possible to ensure our safety in high-risk areas as we’ve done in the past.  Having traveled extensively in other high-risk areas, the most logical decision is to steer clear of nightclubs, coffee shops, popular tourist restaurants, and tourist attractions. 

There’s no guaranty that the small village where we’ll live is free from risk but then, no place in the world is entirely free from danger, nor is any airport, pier, public places, or even private property.

The coastline in Opunake is jagged, rocky with many steep cliffs, hard to see this late in the day.

At this point, we watch and wait. We’ll keep our readers updated as this short period winds down. On April 16th we’ll board Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas for a 14-day cruise which is not scheduled to go to Bali. The cruise ends in Singapore where on the same day we’ll board our “already booked” flight to Bali.

We can only pray for safety and good health in our travels and for each of you in your travels and daily life as well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 8, 2015:

One year ago we posted a few photos of us as we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary which was March 7th in Hawaii (March 8th here today…confusing).  I took this photo of Tom while we were visiting Mount Kilauea on the Big Island with the lava spewing in the background.  For more photos, please click here.