Kalimantan Boat Cruise: Journey into Tanjung Puting National Park [Easter Break . April 16-21, 2014]

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April 27th 2014
Published: April 27th 2014
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Leading up to Easter, there was an Easter Egg Hunt at one of our dinner club nights. One of our friends had gotten a lot of American candy sent to her from her family with a bunch of plastic eggs. She had stuffed each egg with goodies, labeled our names on them and hid them around her apartment for all of us – it was such a great surprise and it was a mad dash to see if you could be the first to find yours!

Over Easter, we had a six day holiday. Three others and I headed off to Borneo, the largest island in Asia and the world’s third largest island for a cruise. Borneo is comprised of three different countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The Indonesian part of the island is called Kalimantan. We spent three days and two nights aboard a relatively small boat on a river through the jungles. We left Jakarta Wednesday afternoon and finished our trip on Saturday. We spent time talking, playing games, and read as we cruised along. All around it was a very relaxing trip. During the day, we would
cruise along the river, and stop at spots for a hike to see orangutans. One day, we also visited a Dayak village. In fact, our guide was born in the jungle and his father was from the Dayak tribe where as his mother was Malaysian. His story was fascinating – he lived in the jungle until he was 6 years old before they moved to the city so that both he and his younger sister could go to school. He has five other siblings but by the sounds of it, they didn’t get the chance to go to school like he did. His father was a highly skilled hunter and his mom met his dad when he was selling his meat at the city markets. Eventually though, the village off in the jungle was destroyed as palm oil plantations took over the area. We saw evidence of this as the waters started out really murky and polluted to stunning, super clear waters! We soon came to a bend in the river and the water was suddenly black in colour – it bounced the reflection of the sky and trees on its smooth surface, just as a mirror would. It was
stunning! I just hope that the little bit of clear water that is still there will remain intact for years to come so that others can enjoy it too!

We slept on the boats top deck under mosquito nets and did our best as did our best not to let any possessions fall overboard.

One of my most favorite memories from this trip was Good Friday evening. The most incredible sunset spread itself across the open sky over the river in front of us. Our captain parked our boat for the night underneath a bunch of trees that were full of fireflies, constantly twinkling hundreds at a time. He was able to catch a firefly so we could hold it and see what one looks like up close. As we ate our dinner on the upper deck while gently rocking back and forth with the water, we looked up at the trees and then beyond to the countless starts and the Milky Way swept across the clear sky. It was unreal – so much beauty but there was no way a camera could capture the moment.
A mental picture was definitely taken though!

Since we were back in town for Easter Sunday, we made a little feast of our own to celebrate! That morning blue skies continued to greet us and as we headed downtown in our taxi. You could see the surrounding mountains and volcanoes and with the sky scrapers against the backdrop - it momentarily looked like home! Ahhh, it was wonderful! We picked up some fresh raspberry tarts from a little French bakery….mmmm they were delectable!

I trust back home you all had a wonderful Easter holiday as well.

Additional photos below
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Our apartment buildings and school from the sky!

Our Tour Guide

As we turned to continue traveling, the muddy river was replaced by a much darker tea coloured water. Apparently the clear water is the original colour. The muddy cream colour is the result of mining far up the main river.

First indication of Orangutan: A nest high up in a tree.

5th July 2014

Question on Malaria medicine
We love to see Orangutan in either Tanjung Putting National Park or in Kalimantan, but we are afraid of taking malaria medicine. Did you take the medicine?

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