Bali Bombing 10th anniversary
Friends and families of victims of the 2002 Bali bombings gather to remember their loved ones 10 years on from the tragedy. The memorial concluded with a candlelight vigil and a 'paddle for peace' at sunset on the beach in Kuta, Bali. Photo: Justin McManus
It was the final Bali memorial service that brought peace to Pauline Whitton and Lynn Muller. The official ceremony had left both women sobbing uncontrollably - but, during a gesture of symbolic rebirth on Kuta Beach later in the day, they felt they were finally setting their daughters free.
A day of informal memorials around Kuta followed Friday morning's official remembrance. More than 150 surfers on Kuta Beach paddled out to the ocean at sunset and linked hands for the Paddle for Peace event, held annually to mark the anniversary.
''We spread to the world a message of harmony from Kuta Beach: we are one,'' said Agung Tresna, the head of beach security.
A little solace … Pauline Whitton, left, and Lynn Muller comfort each other at the memorial. Photo: Justin McManus
As the surfers paddled back to shore, families of bombing victims released 202 baby turtles into the ocean in a symbolic rebirth.
Mrs Whitton and Mrs Muller, both from Sydney, released turtles in honour of their daughters, Charmaine Whitton and Jodi Wallace. The two women were 29 at the time of the attack and best friends who met in kindergarten.
Mrs Whitton said she had been undecided about coming to Bali. The night before the official ceremony, she woke screaming from a recurring nightmare in which she chases after, but is unable to find, her daughter. ''I was just distraught.
That anticipation, and the mood of the memorial, had overwhelmed her. ''It wasn't peaceful,'' she said of the official ceremony. ''It was beautiful but it was heartbreaking.''
Mrs Whitton, from Cronulla, said the symbolism of the beachside ceremony filled her first with apprehension but then, eventually, relief.
''It's hard to do,'' she said. ''You want your daughter to stay; if you feel you're releasing her it's a really deep emotion. But it's to set them free. I feel like I'm at peace now.''
Later, Australians flocked to Kuta's nightclub district for a vigil at 11.08pm - the exact time when the explosion killed 88 Australians.
Bill Handy, from Palm Beach in Queensland, who lost his son, Billy, led them in a reflection: ''For one minute we can stand here and say, 'We love you.'''
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, laid a wreath at the centre of Kuta on Friday morning, ending the official ceremonies in which survivors and families marked the 2002 bombing.
''This has been a very emotional 24 hours,'' Ms Gillard said.
The Prime Minister nominated the conclusion of the ceremony, in which a list of all those who died was read aloud, as the trip's most emotional point.
''It was an incredibly powerful moment to just hear name after name,'' she said.