In the late 80s and early 90s, before the Internet era and NOAA wave models, some of us in Bali had access to the Australian’s Bureau of Meteorology’s Indian Ocean mean sea level pressure analysis. This chart, hand-drawn by a BOM meteorologist from satellite data, was faxed to ships’ and yachts’ weather faxes, including boats in Benoa. Copies of the fax would make the rounds, but only amongst a few, and jealously guarded.
This is the current BOM chart for today, and I am playing Surfline here with the red arrow. Days and days of swell are coming. You don’t even need the modern surf forecast. Just a glance at the MSLP chart tells you that. From the H’s and the L’s marked on the chart, the more expert prognosticator can even say what the prevailing winds will be, in this case trades.
One time in the early days, Brett B. pranked us by expertly re-drawing the new chart, showing a big-ass low spiraling across the Indian Ocean. Word spread that the biggest swell of the year was on its way in a few days. Guns were dusted off and repaired. And on the appointed day, the faithful gathered early at dawn at Nusa Dua, their guns at the ready, and lo, it was only two foot.