Saturday October 3

 

We awoke to the noise of monkeys in the trees alongside to find the world closed in by mist and smoke. Visibility was down to 30m. We waited until after breakfast for the visibility to improve. We had plenty of time as we were heading upstream, direct to Camp Leakey to get in early before the other boats arrived. The boys soon had our bedrooms packed away.

Our cook Yarni continued to produce wonderful food in her tiny low kitchen over the main engine. Just as well she is only 4 feet 6 inches tall.

As we travelled Ami would stop the boat at any sighting of wildlife. We saw many different birds and Ami was spooked when he noticed lots of Asian Minor Birdsfollowed by 2 crows. This was a bad omen in his Dayak Traditional beliefs. Ami's father was a very traditional Dayak with a close relationship to the Earth and the Forrests. He hunted with the traditional blowpipe. He passed on his love and respect for the land to his son. Dayaks are considered to be the true aboriginal people of Borneo.

Our guide Ami was a man of many talents and he could sing too.

Ami kept a running sheet of the wildlife we spotted on day 2 of the trip. We were up to 15 before we got to the Orangutans. Some of the birds were Kingfishers (2 varieties), Hornbills, Minor Birds and Swifts. Animals were Probiscus Monkeys, Water Monitor, Gibbons, Fresh water Crocodiles, Long Tailed Macaques, Black and White Squirrels and Orangutans.

We turned off the Sekonyar River and followed the narrow tributary to Camp Leakey.

Andy practiced for the Orangutan Banana eating competition.

He ran into trouble getting the bananas between his toes into his mouth. The Orangutans win by 2 feet and a lower lip like a bucket.

The wildlife sightings continued

This one needs his teeth cleaned but I'm not volunteering

Finally arrived at Camp Leakey and after another sumptuous lunch went ashore to explore.

On the way to the visitor centre we spied this little fellow as well as some common grey monkeys.

The visitor centre was very informative, outlining the differences between Orangutans and humans, the medicinal properties of local plants and the family trees of the Orangutans that have been studied in the area.

Then it was on to the Feeding Station to seethe Orangutans. We were very lucky to find Tom tha alpha male of the area sitting quietly in the shade just 3m from the viewing area. His size and bulk were awesome.

He was watching the cheeky Gibbon that was picking up leftovers on the feeding platform.

This time the food provided was buckets of some kind of milk and the feeding antics of the younger Orangutans was very amusing, some going in head first others scooping handfuls.

With big Tom close by the juveniles were a bit nervous and not going to let go of mum.

Then Tom took over the platform for a while.

The others just hang around until he had eaten his fill.

Back at the dock a group of Orangutans were in the nearby trees.

The River was going to be busy that night so we left to tie up to another jetty downriver belonging to another conservation group Ami knew. He organised a night walk for us to find Tarantula and Bird Eating Spiders. Our guide took us on a well marked trail for an hour and we managed to glimpse one Tarantula close to its hole. Another area was roped of and user video surveillance as apparently there is a very rare Clouded Leopard with a cub in the area as well as a Sun Bear.

Dinner was another extravaganza although the cooking in general is heavy with oil. Our cold showers are heaven after the hot days with extreme humidity. We are actually grateful for the smoke as it is reducing the direct sunlight.

Ami and the crew sat on the jetty playing a guitar with only 5 strings and singing while we had dinner.

 

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