Friday October 2

Early start with the clocks going back an hour to Jakarta time. The smoke was thick and the dew heavy. We used the dew to clean the salt off the boat only to find a fine layer of ash was settling on the decks. We re packed the fridges to enable us to turn 1 off and save power while we fully charged the batteries with the Genset.

Our guide Ami arrived by speedboat just before 1000. His English was great and he helped us explain to the boat boy, who would look after Gemini Lady for the next 3 days, how to start the engine and that we wanted it on for 1 hour each day starting tomorrow. That done we were transferred to Mama3 with our bags.

Once the others had been picked up we were off, motoring through the now clearing smoke, down to the entrance of the Sekonyar River and Tanjung Pading NP.

The jungle soon closed in around us with river banks lined with Niall Palms.

We relaxed as the river slipped by

The National Park was on the right. On the left were numerous structures and canals relating to Palm Oil plantations.

It wasn't long until we found our first group of Probiscus Monkeys.

Andy and Sue are keen birdwatchers and kept us enthused with spotting the different varieties.

A spectacular lunch was served before we disembarked at Feeding Station 1 for our first glimpse of an Orangutan. The Feeding Stations were established to support the rehabilitated Orangutans that have been released back into the wild from Camp Leakey.

At Feeding Station 1 we hadn't gone more than 100m down the track when we came across this male Orangutan. He seemed quite at ease with people and slowly walked in front of us toward the Feeding Platform.

We enjoyed taking lots of pictures and laughed at his cleverness when he blocked the small bridge, stopping all traffic.

There were fires burning in the NP and some of the guides are doing volunteer firefighting accessing remote areas with motorbikes. Our young male Orangutan was not so comfortable when the motorbikes turned up and soon moved off the path to let traffic flow resume.

We arrived a bit earlier than feeding time but a few Orangutans were already waiting in the trees nearby. I have never fancied myself as a wildlife photographer but got carried away here.

The bananas soon arrived and there was a seemingly ordered procession of Orangutans up onto the platform for their share.

Then a big male turned up.

The time just seemed to vanish and then it was back to the boat and back down river to our spot for the night with the fireflies. More Probiscus monkeys on the way.

Another fantastic meal by our cook Yarni which we ate by candlelight to keep the bugs away.The crew set up our beds which consisted of 2 Futon mattresses pushed together and enclosed with a very fine mosquito proof tent. We had fresh sheets and a light blanket each. Our little cocoons were very private.

A few wines with dinner and rum on the aft deck for supper listening to the sounds of the jungle. A fabulous day!