Published: July 23rd 2012July 17th 2012
We slept surprisingly well with no AC and funny noises all around, waking after dawn. Breakfast was again provided and served by Sipiani and we got ready for our next walk. It was actually pouring with rain so we weren't holding out much hope of seeing an orangutan. They make nests at night high in the trees and don't move much if it is wet.
We wandered around the forest for about 3 hours without spotting another orangutan, but we did see hornbills and macaque monkeys high in the trees. Several times the path was really muddy and the river crossings unsafe. Several times one or another of us ended up in the mud on our bums or knees. We also saw centipedes and these red bugs which curl into a ball like a marble when they are attacked. Again the ants decided to eat breakfast off Fiona's ankles- even through socks.
Just as we were returning to the camp, we noticed blood on Toby's pants. Somewhere in the mud some leeches had got onto his legs and were feasting on his blood. They had filled up and dropped off but they release an anti clotting serum so
the wound bleeds for a while. We washed him up and dressed the wounds with antiseptic and band aids. Fiona and Harriet seemed to have got away without being sucked and so were quite happy.
Just as we got to the camp we spotted more macaques all around the building. They weren't keen on staying around whilst we were there and scampered off screaming at us through bared teeth and we realised they had been making all the noise over night. When the Hungarians returned we told them we had seen the monkeys and that they had been the cause of the noises. As Fiona showed them where they had gone, she spotted something moving. Harriet realised it was a monitor lizard and we all rushed over to look. Unfortunately it disappeared before we could get more than a shot of its tail.
We scrubbed the mud off our shoes and left them in the sunshine to dry over dinner. A very useful pamphlet from the National Park office was on the table and Toby realised we could get a car from Kabo Raya all the way to Balikpapan. It wasn't cheap by Indonesian standards but not
a lot of dollars and loads more convenient than a four hour bus ride to Samarinda and a taxi to Balikpapan with our bags. Sipiani arranged it for us and after lunch and farewell to the Hungarians we were off in the boat once more.
The car met us around the corner from Kabo Raya and we were excited to see it was a 4 wheel drive
. We thought this would mean a faster trip down the potholed road to Samarinda. However we were sadly mistaken as our driver was very slow to say the least and we took as long if not longer than the bus to get to Samarinda to pick up our bags.
On the way we stopped about 50 minutes south of Bontang to visit the equator monument. This marks the equator and we could be half in the northern hemisphere and half in the southern. We couldn't think of any other time when we had crossed the equator on land even though we had done so many times by air. The stop was very short as there wasn't much to see and we realised we weren't going to be in Balikpapan until really
When we finally got to Balikpapan and found a hotel, we tried to book flights to Banjarmasin. We really weren't keen on travelling as backpackers and didn't mind paying the fares to fly. Unfortunately we couldn't get tickets as it was too close to the flight time for the website so we decided to try at the airport. This wouldn't have been a problem but the flight was at 7.05am
which meant another crack of dawn start.
To top off a tiring day, as Harriet undressed a leech fell out of her shoe. It had been between her toes the whole way from Sangatta, but it wasn't coming to Banjarmasin with us.
There are more photos below