|Kumai, Kalimantan: Borneo|
|October, 2007: From Bali we originally were headed for the Island of Kangean, however, the weather did not cooperate. The seas were 2-3 meters on the beam and the ride was uncomfortable. The nice thing about cruising is plans always change, we decided to alter course to make for the Island of Bawean. Instead of a day sail we were now doing an overnighter. Later we heard that the anchorage at Lovina was a disaster, with the change in the wind and waves, boats were dragging and it was very rolly. We were glad to be underway. Just off Bawean a colorful local fishing boat sailed near to see if we wanted to buy any squid off them. We stayed two nights at Bawean. Our friends of s/v Good Hope came over for sundowners. Jim went ashore to a locals home and filled up our jerry jugs with diesel, one litre at a time. The town ashore was very Muslem, it was still Ramadan, so the people could not eat,drink or smoke during day light. Which means they pretty much slept during the day and stayed up all night praying. The loud speaker chanting all evening throughout the village.
|Boats anchored at Bawean Island. 1st person to email me the correct Lon/Lat of Bawean gets a s/v Blue Sky T-Shirt. I don't know how I'll get it to you. Guess you'll just have to come to us.|
|A huge variety of birds in bird cages, Lovina, Bali|
|Brad and Georgie from s/v Good Hope|
|We left Bawean early in the morning and motored sailed over night to Kumai. Bottom left, you can barely see land, and the change in the water color. The approach in and up the river to Kumai took eleven hours and during that time the maximum depth was 20 feet. We followed ten waypoints given by a fellow cruiser, to avoid submerged rocks and spots with zero depth. Kalimatan is located in the southern two-thirds of the island of Borneo. One of our favorite books while we were planning our circumnavigation was The Voyage of the Northern Magic. Relating the story of a family, with three sons, who sailed around the world. They visited Kumai and the orang-utans, and after reading this section, it was one place we wanted to visit. Once we reached the anchorage there were ten other boats there. It was very windy and the current was quite strong, each going in the opposite direction. When the anchor was down, Blue Sky did a couple 360's, and we came too close to another boat for our comfort. We pulled up the anchor and went to the other end of the anchorage well away from any other boats and re-set the anchor. It was a stressful morning and the anchorage sucked. Once settled we put the dinghy in the water and went ashore to the yellow roofed building, Herry's Yacht Service,to schedule our trip to see the Oran-gutans. Herry, who speaks English, was not there, but we organized a pick up at 8:00am the next morning. Herry's organizes a person to sit on your boat while you are up the river, as it is an over night adventure. They stay in your cockpit, and you provide shade and water. Kumai is a very "end of the line" port town, so theft is abundant. We accidently left a wallet at a shop and when we returned it was gone. Thankfully there was not much cash in it, and there is no where to use a credit card. Having a large Muslen population, it is a dry town, selling no beer or alcohol, and we found no restaurants to speak of.|
|Above is our Klotok that would take us up the African Queen type of river into the jungles of Kalimatan. It was very comfortable, as Phoebe and Drake demonstrate. From the Sungai Kumai, we turned into the Sungai Sekonyer (Sungai meaning river) and into the Tanjung Puting National Park. The park consists of 4150 square kilometers of tropical rainforest with a large variety of flora and fuana. Herman was one of the guides, and became an instant friend with Drake. He weaved bracelets and made one for each of us, plus rings for Jim and I. He worked at Camp Leaky and was very knowledgeable of the area and a wealth of information. The captain was Andi, and he remembers the first sail boat to venture up the river, only thirty years ago. He was also the guide for the family on s/v Northern Magic, he remembers them well, as they took their boat up the river and docked it at the first rehabilitation center. They even had monkeys swing on their rigging. We also had a cook, and the food we were served was fantastic.|
|The toilet on board was very basic, at least it had a seat. The first stop on the journey would be Camp Leaky, a four hour trip up the river. It was very relaxing and on the way we saw all sorts of wildlife to include; Dolphins, Macaques (small monkieys), Crocodiles, Probiscis Monkeys, Wild Boars, King Fishers, Hornbills, Eagles, Snakes and Fireflies.|
|The first monkeys we saw were the Probiscus, with their long tails and large noses. Phoebe and Drake thought they were very funny looking at were in awe watching them swing from tree to tree. They renamed them "Big Noses". All along the river were signs of these monkeys playing in the trees. We stopped and had lunch, consisting of fried fish, chicken, curry, vegetables and rice while watching the wildlife. After which we ventured on to Camp Leaky. Phoebe and Drake were eager to see their distant cousins and we finally were able to see one. You can just see her baby in her lap. They do not want us to have physical contact with the Orang-gutans as we carry disease's that they do not have defenses for and vice versa. You are not allowed to eat or drink in front of them, otherwise they will want whatever it is and be agressive to try it.|
|Feeding is at a set time twice a day. While we were walking to the feeding platforms so were the Orang-utans. This mother and child were very leary of us and she was very protective while we passed, stopping and putting her arm around the child. The male was laying in the middle of the path. He was rescued as a child, however, when he was older was in a fight and was found almost dead under a tree. The researchers found him and nursed him back to health, you can see how his head has been deformed. The Orang-utans here are the only great apes outside of Africa. Dr. Galdikas started Camp Leaky rehabilitation center in 1971, today her staff continues spending their days tracking the wild Orang-utans and reintroducing rescued or orphaned ones back into the wild. As they become comfortable with the presense of humans, they never really go back to the wild, returning ocassionally for the morning or afternoon feeding. The camp really provides a safe haven for these primates where their behavior can be studied in their natural habitat.|
|The main threat to these rare creatures is us. The logging, mining & palm oil plantations continue to destroy the natural habitat. When we turned off the Sungai Sekonyer onto the smaller river to the research station there was a police post. Posts are set up at all the water ways that enter the National Park in order to halt distructive habits. See the color of the water change. The coffee color is silt from the mine up river. Clear is the park.|
|Drake and Jim enjoy watching the females eat the bananas. The mosquitos at each camp were abundant, so we made sure we were protected, as this is malaria country. However, we have found that where ever there is a disease, the cure is usually near by. In the jungle the Pasak Bumi tree grows, you prepare a tea with this for the fever. After bananas the Orangu-tans are offered milk from buckets, they take turns drinking. Most of the females had babies clinging to their backs. However, they say the birth cycle is around once every eight years, which makes them extreamly vulnerable for extinction.|
|Mom takes a drink first then pass it on to her infant. You can not find fresh milk anywhere in Indonesia, but they have it for the Orangu-tans.|
|At the first feeding station there were wild boars competing for the food. The Orangu-tans were very curious and one agressive female climbed down a tree right above Phoebe. Jim promptly moved her out of the way.|
|We choose to spend the night at the Rimba Eco Lodge, instead of sleeping on the Klotok. The lodge itself was very rustic, with mosquito netting over the beds. Phoebe and Drake slept on a mattress next to our bed enclosed within the same mosquito netting.. To the left is the ramp to the lodge, we felt it would be a good idea for the children to get off the boat and stretch their legs. Other cruisers who slept on the boats said it was a wonderful experience as you can hear the gibbons calling at night. The cooking on the boats was reportedly better than the lodge.
We woke up and had breakfast then headed for our boat. The day started at the Pondok Tangui station to view another feeding. At this sight the male laying in the middle of the path was huge, he was definitely the leader. When females are feeding they share with each other and are friendly, however, when a male is on the platform, no one else will appoarch to eat until he is done. Another male may try to invade his territory, but unsuccessfully. Usually they just grab a huge handful and race up the trees to stay out of the way.
Phoebe made a new friend, Soleil, off the boat Luna, who is the same age. It was nice to meet a boat with children that we had not met previously. They traveled through Indonesia on their own, without the rally.
|From Pondok we went to Tanjung Harapan Village, which was established in 1989 to help house the workers from Camp Leaky. Soleil, Phoebe and Drake are pictured with local children in front of the school. It was still the month of Ramadan, so school was not in session. The woman on the right sold hand made woven rugs. They are the type you could find at a Pier One store for $50.00 and we got two for $5. Our last stop was Tanjung Harapan Rehabilitation Center, this was the spot where s/v Northern Magic docked.|
|The male below is from the wild and frequents the feeding stand occasionally. All the others were scared of him, however, there was one brave femaie, who reached up over the platform to grab some bananas. When the male had his back turned she got up to get some more. You could hear them swing in the trees approaching the stand, before you could see them. There were people from around the world visiting the stations, we met a family from India and some backpackers from England. It was nice to be on a sail boat, as the back packers had to travel 16 hours on a bus to the airport.|
|Phoebe and Drake really enjoyed their experience in the jungle. Drake relaxes and watches the sunset. As the sun was going down our guide saw a wild orangu-tan in the tree on the right. He is hard to see in the above picture, but what a way to end the trip. As it got dark the trees lite up with fire flies. We made it back to Blue Sky at dark, and when we awoke the next day the fleet had caught up. The person who stayed on our boat washed the decks, without us even asking him to. This was definitely one of our top five experiences of our journey.|