A full moon is seen emerging from between Batu Jimbar and Nusa Penida. This video was taken from upstairs at Wantilan Lama, the closest villa to the beach at Wantilan .
Batu Jimbar, a beach area on Bali’s southern coast near the village of Sanur, was already tagged with magic, danger and mystery long before it became an expat hideaway in the late 1960s. It’s a lovely place to surf, swim or contemplate life.
But it’s not entirely about the beach. There’s a sense of place here that transcends white sand and palm trees. Traditionally, the Balinese don’t swim. However, ashes from ngaben cremation ceremonies all around Bali do enter the sea here. The function in Balinese religion is to release the soul to a higher level.
Apart from these final beachside rites, ngaben ceremonies themselves are frequently performed in this area. These are essentially public events. If you locate one, you can attend or at least observe.
Bali fell to the Dutch in 1906, following a Dutch naval bombardment launched from near Batu Jimbar, Sanur. The colonial power claimed rights to a Chinese shipwreck lying on the reef. In 1942 an American Army Air Corps bomber shot down a Japanese Zero at the same location. My grandfather incidentally belonged to this group. (In fact, Bob F. Graf was my grandmother’s husband; and and there is no direct connection between his involvement in the Java 1942 campaign and my own struggle to stay alive in Indonesia : – )