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.
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.
The turn off into the national park from the Kumai river
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!
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…
A slow leisurely walk back to our kelotok through the forest…..
An early night tucked up in our mosquito netted beds. To be cont.