Communication & informants (Giambelli 1995)

Below article consist of three parts of Giambelli's PhD Thesis (1995; Chapter 1), and deals with communications, his acknowledgements to informants and advisors in Bali and Nusa Penida, and the summary of this chapter.

Communications: Links with Bali and Lombok

lembongan sunset olav2006Image left: Lembongan beach (Olav Pelger, 2006)

Nusa is separated from Bali by the Badung Straits and from Lombok by the homonymous channel. Both straits are subject to strong and variable sea currents that are heavily influenced by the type of seabeds between the islands and by the daily and seasonal tidal variations. Furthermore, Nusa Penida and Ceningan are divided by a narrow water channel that during tidal change creates one of the most powerful sea currents in the whole of the Indian ocean. Any journey between Nusa and Bali or Lombok requires a sea crossing and the careful negotiation of the strong currents present in those straits can be potentially dangerous for the inexpert or for those who do not take account of weather variations in the passage. (27)

Footnote 27) The worst sailing months are February, May, June, July, August and September. During these months, or in conjunction with the period that precede the arrival of the monsoon there may be strong winds and high waves and traditional canoes, though rarely, may stop sailing altogether for a day or two. Some sea accidents did involve boats travelling from Nusa Penida to Bali and vice versa. The majority of these involved new fiberglass motor boats travelling from Bujuk to Padang Bay. I should say that the traditional jukung sailors in general have better knowledge of the sea and the weather than the modern motorboat 'captains' who are patently inexperienced and contemptuous in their approach to sea crossing and regardless of passenger sea safety.

Notwithstanding these types of potential risks and short seasonal interruptions, communications between Nusa and Bali are fairly regular. Locally built outrigger canoes (jukung) leave every morning from the beach of Toyapakeh or Jungutbatu for Kusamba or Sanur (Bali) with passengers and local goods and return in the late afternoon with tourists, commuters and commodities from Bali. All the canoes now have engines and depending on the condition of the sea the crossing may take between 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Larger boats (jangolan) are used for the transport of goods and depending on the availability of products, mainly seaweed and cattle, leave from Toyapakeh to Sanur, or from Sampalan to Padang Bay. (see plate N.4 for a proper localisation of these places) (28) Furthermore, locally built jukung sail regularly throughout the day between Lembongan (Jungutbatu or Tlaktak) and Nusa Penida (Toyapakeh).

Communications with Lombok are less relevant and are highly irregular. Generally, those venturing on the Lombok straits are fisherman from Nusa Penida's eastern coast or wood traders who buy wood in Lombok and transport it to Nusa Penida. Today, those who need to go to Lombok leave first for Bali (Padang Bay) and from there are able to cross to Lombok (Lembar) (see plate N.2).

Communications within Nusa Penida

The road network within the islands has been constantly expanding since the late eighties. When I first went to the Nusa Penida in 1988 there was only one asphalt road that ran around the island from Batununggul to Toyapakeh, Klumpu, Batumadeg, Batukandik, and Sekartaji. Tanglad, Suana and Sakti were connected to this main artery by unsealed roads. Another unsealed road crossed the island from Kutampi to Tulad, Caruban. Any other place was linked by footpaths or small trails. (see plate N.5) During the past years enormous progress has been made in this sector and all the major centres on the island are now connected by asphalt roads that are constantly being improved. Minor villages are also being linked through unsealed roads. In Nusa Lembongan a ring road around the island, partially made of asphalt and partially unsealed, has recently been completed. No public transport is present but the network is served by small vans or pick­ ups, locally called bemo and privately owned, which transport goods and passengers throughout the island. Privately owned cars are rare but now with a new pier and better roads their number is increasing.

giambelli 1995 plate2 map small

Acknowledgements: informants and advisors in Bali and Nusa Penida (Giambelli)

The (p.XII) writing of a thesis in anthropology and the research process that leads to it is a long undertaking. During this work I have benefited from the support of a number of institutions and people, who in different ways and times have helped me. I wish therefore to thank all of them at the beginning of this work as a modest sign of reciprocity.

In Bali, sincere thanks to Cokorda Gede Agung (Bupati of Klungkung) and the Kabupaten staff; to Rai Mishra and the Pusdok staff, to the staff of the Gedong Kertya in Singaraja and the Museum Bali in Denpasar. I also wish to manifest appreciation for the help given to me in various ways by Pedanda Cukcukan and lstri, I Nyoman Sadia (Sukawati), Pedanda lstri Kamasan, I Wayan Warna (Denpasar), Ida Dalem Pemayun (Ratu Dalem Klungkung) and his wives Jero Nusa Rentis and Cokrda Biang, Ida Ayu Mas (Kemenuh), Dr. Danker Schaareman, Dr. David Stuart-Fox, Pino Confessa, Kumiko Nakahama, Brent Hesselyn, Garret and Brownen Solyom. Special thanks are due to Professor Ida Bagus Sidemen, who as the former, and so far unique, historian of Nusa Penida shared with me his knowledge about the island and its culture.

The anthropological fieldwork involves a prolonged contact between the researcher and the people who host him. It would be impossible to thank all the people I met during my long stay in Nusa Penida I want, however to mention a few of them. Sincere recognition goes to I Made Wartika (Camat Nusa Penida) and the Kecamatan staff, as well as to Bapak Rejig (head of the local Police office), for their assistance in the period following my arrival on the island. In Sampalan, I wish to express my gratitude to I Wayan Wydiadana, I Nyoman Lindra, Dewa Aji (Ped) and Anak Agung Raka Bontot who shared with me their knowledge about the Pura Penataran Ped and the island religious traditions. In Suana, I am indebt to I Wayan Sutama (Bendesa Adat Suana) and the late Ni Made Kerti for their hospitality and for allowing me to research on Pura Batumedau. In Jungutbatu, I am particularly grateful for the help and assistance of I Nyoman Sudibia, I Nyoman Sugata and the late Dalem I Made Sergeg. In Klumpu, I wish to thank I Ketut Jaksa (Pamangku and Bendesa Adat Klumpu) for the many conversations we had on Balinese rituals. In Tanglad, thanks I Putu Ariantara (Kepala Desa), I Nengah Arta (Pamangku) and (p.XIII) I Wayan Mandra, for their permission in allowing me to record a local version of the Calonarang play.

To all the people of desa and banjar Sakti I owe special tanks. In particular I would like to acknowledge a debt of gratitude toward I Nyoman Sutisna (Pamangku and Bendesa Adat Sakti), Ni Wayan Sulandri (Tukang Banten), I Nyoman Sutiawan and Ni Wayan Nama, for they hosted me during my stay in Sakti and shared with me their knowledge and life. Thanks also for their assistance to: I Ketut Diara, Gurun Turun (Pamangku Pundukaha Kelod), Pan Rame (Pamangku Sebunibus), I Made Gara (Kelihan Adat Karangdawa), Pak Juli (Kelihan Adat Penida), I Wayan Kayon (Kelihan Adat Pikat), I Nyoman Sayang (Kelihan Adat Sompang), I Wayan Kerug (Cubang), and I Wayan Kirab (Kepala Desa).


  • Giambelli, Rodolfo A. - Reciprocating with Ibu Pretiwi. Social organisations and the importance of plants, land and the ancestors in Nusa Penida, Department of Anthropology Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies The Australian National University. Canberra 1995, XII-XIII, pp.5, 18-19

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