Wednesday last week was the Balinese holy day of Nyepi, wherein everyone stays indoors and does nothing that is not slothful (well for expats), such as listening to that strange remarkable sound that is the silence of motorbikes and traffic, filled with birdsong. Either more birds sing on Nyepi than on any other day of the year or else you’re just getting a chance to hear them.
Your blog correspondent heard rumors that at Keramas, some surfers paddle out on Nyepi to enjoy the empty lineup. I must admit I was only partially skeptical. If you live in this country long enough, you learn that “all things an be arranged.” But the Balinese have become quite zealous in enforcing the laws (if not exactly the spirit) of Nyepi, in part as a way of saying loud and clear “Hey, this island is still ours.”
So early morning on Nyepi day, I logged onto the Keramas wave cam operated by Bali Belly. The web camera is a rotating one, that swings from a view down the coast back up to the main peak. When I logged on, the camera was aimed down the beach. I waited for it to swing to the peak, but it didn’t. You couldn’t tell if surfers were out in the water. I thought, aha, maybe it is true that there is surfing and somebody figured they’d better not broadcast this to the world (a single video grab of surfers out in the water on Nyepi and posted on social media would have gotten wide and agitated attention here in Bali.)
But if somebody was going to the trouble to aim the camera elsewhere, why not just take it out of service for the day?
I went off to listen to the un-sound of no scooters and to the birds and returned an hour later to the webcam view. Lo and behold, it had rotated to the main peak and this was the view: