Tanjung Puting Taman Nasional Kalimantan

There is enormous diversity of plant and animal life in this beautiful national park. As we travelled up the river on our kelotok we were lucky enough to see some of this. My apologies at the outset for not knowing  all the names of plants and if anyone can identify I’d be grateful. There was sooo much to see and how to share was tricky to say the least. The vegetation was amazing……

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Along the edges of the Sekonyer river

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In the forest epiphytes galore

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Lianna and lichens

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Orchids…..

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Palm trees harvested for roofing materials

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Fruits for those that live in the forest

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Fantastic reflections, lush dense forest…habitat for the orangutans, gibbons and proboscis monkeys among others

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Large monitor lizards and freshwater crocodiles inhabit these waters.

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Journey up the sekonyer River Kalimantan

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This morning we set out from Kumai on our kelotok with the captain, our guide , an assistant and the cook ( with her son 4years old). The sun was already hot as we clambered on board about 8:00 this morning. We were welcomed by our captain with coffee , snacks and smiles . We had a farewell cuppa with our family on board before they headed off to work and we headed up river.

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The breeze was a great relief ….though its not supposed to be monsoon season, it sure is acting like it. The humidity is fierce as the clouds build up during the day.

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The turn off into the national park from the Kumai river

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The Sekonyer river is permanently a dark chocolate colour, mainly from the gold mining that occurs  further upstream. It is an enormous waterway which is able to accomodate large ships and barges. As we move off from the town and into the Taman Nasional Tanggung Putih,  it is bordered on both sides by a dense layer of palm trees, the branches and leaves  used for roof  thatching. 

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As we move up the river it is like an unfolding story with a changing kaleidoscope of vegetation both on the edge and further inland  with the occassional waterway branching of to the side with glimpses of small villages perched in the swamp jungle.

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As we get further into the day the humidity continues to mount and by the time we arrive at Tanggung Harapan it was hot, tho the odd gentle breeze eased this somewhat.

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Here we rested and looked over the plant nursery and the medicine plant area. We marvelled at the butterflies  and the number of medicine plants there were…. finally  the heavens opened. The rain was welcome, the humidity lessened. Lunch was delicious kangkung, omelette, rice and sambal. It was accompanied by a welcome rainstorm which cooled things off for a time. ( I seem to have a metabolism, where I loose almost as much water as there is rain, an exaggeration of course but you can imagine, and then add glasses to that steaming away haha)

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While we were having lunch tied up at the jetty,  a steady stream of kelotoks began arriving….hoolie doolie! We have to share this idyll with others?
Indeed we did…by the time we had walked through the lush green tropical rainforest we found a crowd of eager people clicking away on their cameras and this isn’t high season!

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The orangutans ( oranghutan – man of the forest in indonesian) were just amazing! My viewing  of them was  somewhat conflicted….tinged with sadness because of the knowledge that their habitat is daily being decimated in search of the $, filled with awe that we humans are descended from them,  awe at how closely we resemble them, yet at the same time how different we are, filled with joy and laughter at their capacity to play, take care of their young…

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A slow leisurely walk back to our kelotok  through the forest…..

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An early night tucked up in our mosquito netted beds. To be cont.

Bukittinggi – Western Sumatra

A few hours drive from Padang in western Sumatra is an area called Bukittinggi. Its high above sea level and incredibly rugged. The road from Padang to Bukittinggi  is narrow and constantly in the process of being fixed up. The traffic load is immense with many large trucks coming and going from the highlands. It is possible for traffic to be held up for hours as a result of accidents which are common .

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                                                                                                                        Danau Atas

There are four incredibly beautiful lakes which were formed as a result of past  volcanic activity,  which is ongoing today, and the movement
Of  the tectonic plates which meet under Sumatra.

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                                                                                                                         Danau singkara

The land is intensely cultivated with vegetable gardens, rice padi, cinnamon, clove and tea plantations. The soil is fertile and of course there is  a surfeit of water so everything grows. Wherever you look there are plots of tomatoes, spring onions, shallots, chillies, cabbage and cauliflowers.

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                                                                                                                               cinnamon tree- kayu manis

Here also you will find the famous durian. Its durian  season and there are durian everywhere. It is definately an aquired taste and durians can taste vastly different ! I have yet to discover one that I can say, ‘ yes this is amazing ‘. A work in progress for myself!

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Oh yes this is perfect!

Lake Maninjau is famous for its incredible views of the mountains…..glorious does not describe it!

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The town or city of Bukittinggi also has its attractions: wonderful padang food, beautiful views, markets that sell everything  and their very own version of   Big Ben.

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The food was amazing and indescribably delicious!

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The buildings are distinctive. This is a picture of the hotel where we stayed. Notice the roof line. Its a classic Sumatran roofline designed to represent the horns of the kerbau ( I think in english its ox. Maybe someone knows ?)

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Remnant scrub beauties

Taken on a wander through a small reserve not far from where I live.  The reserve  has a number of bushcarers that look after it and nurture it by removing the more noxious weeds and plants tha thave crept in over the years. Im constantly surprised by the diversity in this small patch of scrub. One can only imagine what it must have been like before whitefellas arrived.

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Its common name is running postman!

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Clematis  twined around the fork of a tree. Here’s a close up.

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And a beautiful pink lady orchid….of  which there were many.

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Wild flowers in south oz

Its still what we call winter down here…that roughly translates as lots of intermittent rain, skies full of clouds , gusty winds and in between beautiful sunny days that we would describe as coolish! In between showers this afternoon I went for a walk across the road from where I live …im lucky enough to have a piece of remnant scrub which never ceases to amaze and bring smiles to my face.

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Its limestone country and so there are beautiful ponds scattered around…after rain.

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There were clusters of donkey orchids dotted around

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Gorgeous grevillias

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Local hakeas and  beautiful yellow hibertia.

And there was  more!

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Biodiversity rules…..so lucky to have this as my backyard.

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