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Jungle Adventures

May 29th – May 31st 2011

Here we are still slightly out of balance at the airport in Pangkalan Bun and wait for our flight back to Surabaya. We spent the last three days on a houseboat and our bodies have not adjusted yet to solid ground as it seems à everything is smoothly rocking like waves :o)

But let’s start from the beginning:

When we arrived in Pangkalan Bun, we didn’t really know how we could get into the Tanjung National Park; with which guide and how long we could/would stay there. We arranged a meeting at our hotel with Anang Emen, an English speaking guide that was recommended to us, and discussed the details of the trip we intended to do. He helped us a lot with the whole organization and even booked our flight back to Surabaya.

At 8am on Sunday we started off. Anang picked us up at our hotel and brought us to the harbour in Kumai where we found our home for the next few days: the houseboat. The crew – captain Suma and the chef Topik – were already busy bringing the shopping from the market on board when we arrived. Everything was prepared for our little adventure and so off we went!

The Tanjung Puting National Park consists mainly of swamp areas and jungle with lots of rivers. In this park they erected three camps since the 1970s to reintroduce Orangutans to the jungle. So here in the National Park you can see wild and semi-wild Orangutans. Each camp has a feeding place where they daily provide bananas for the semi-wild Orangutans. Here visitors have an opportunity to see these gigantic animals very closely without a cage or bars. Only the rangers are present somewhere as well as the guides to intervene and give advise how to behave in a case of emergency (like when a tourist is doing something incredibly stupid like approaching an Orangutan too closely or when an Orangutan is doing something incredibly stupid such as stealing stuff from tourists’ pockets or even attacks).

We visited all the camps throughout the three days in the jungle: We spend a lot of time simply sitting there and watching the Orangutans at the feeding places, observe all these different kind of apes along the river and even caught sight of a wild Orangutan. It is very hard for me to put all our experiences from these days in words: These incredible animals which show human behaviour in so many ways; the rangers and their families who live in the camps permanently and show such a natural handling of the omnipresent Orangutans; our guide and the crew with which we have had so much fun and laughed so much. They made the most wonderful food for us and always way too much…when we came back from a tour through a camp – soaking wet because of sweat and/or rain and exhausted – they welcomed us back with cool drinks and snacks like freshly baked bananas and fruits. Anang was the most amazing guide. He has been a guide for many years and also used to work in one of the camps for a year as the assistant of a Canadian scientist and therefore had a good knowledge of the Orangutans, the camps, the National Park and the jungle.

He knew each Orangutan by name and also his/her character traits. Like Princess for example – an elderly female Orangutan which was taught a little bit of sign language a long time ago in the years of captivity and can communicate a bit with humans: like “I want food”, “Those are sunglasses”, “Thank you” etc.

Anang has a very vivid way of telling stories of his experiences from the Park – you notice directly that he gets into the spirit of the Orangutans. This underlined by his facial expressions and his dry sense of humor made this time for us unforgettable. No matter when – while waiting for Orangutans, looking for shelter from the rain or during the countless conversations on board – the discussions where always marked by mutual interest and sometimes informative and sometimes funny; but most of the times both.

We just said good-bye to Anang here at the airport and it felt like taking leave from a good friend. If you ever intend to visit the Tanjung Putting National Park, we highly recommend Anang as your guide! (his contact details are: anangemen@yahoo.co.id or phone/text +62 (0) 81349772086 )

 

With the boat through the jungle

 

Up on deck under the roof is where we camped on matrasses with a mosquito net

 

Anang

 

Captain Suma

 

Topik, our chef

 

 

 

sign at the entrance to a camp

 

 

 

This lady nicked a towel from a boat that was waiting on the jetty. She wrapped the towel around her and went back to her sunbathing-spot

 

 

 

feeding time

 

feeding time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been looking at you, kid… Who could resist this look? :o) This is Pen, a male Orangutan and the son of Princess, which we met on the way to Camp Leakey. He was sitting in a tree, watching the traffic on the river. Pen loves the agreeable, easy life in camp. Mainly because there are so many visitors which have lots of interesting stuff (à food) in their bags and pockets and therefore the organization of food is fairly easy here. The rangers are not amused by this, especially because Pen likes the food storage of the ranger houses as well in case there are not enough tourists around. So as a step of Pen’s personal education program they shoot him with narcotics occasionally, bring him to the jungle and leave him there. When he awakes, Pen is not particular amused to be marooned again and very upset. But after a while he reasons and becomes more practical as he is a very intelligent Orangutan. He simply looks for the nearest river, makes himself comfortable in a tree and waits for the boats that frequently come by so he can catch a ride. Conveniently, these boats also are stocked very well with food. So Pen has his personal hitchhiker’s guide to the Tanjung Putting National Park so to say. Anang’s worldly wisdom to this is the following: “When you find an Orangutan on the riverside – no matter how friendly he looks – NEVER stop the boat.” One should keep going as quickly as possible. Once an Orangutan is on the boat, there is nothing that stands between him and the food storage. Anang said he has seen men jump from the boat when King Tom came for a visit. “They even forget about the crocodiles then *:oD* ” (Kathi’s question: why? Are Orangutans dangerous?) “When you try to keep them from the food and especially the king [for he is the biggest and strongest of course], they can be. They bite and even they don’t have particularly sharp teeth, they have a very strong jaw and they can break your bones.”

 

plants blocking the way

 

 

 

 

 

playfully fighting and seeing who is the strongest

 

 

 

Just like humans. The child does not want to leave and therefore holds on to whatever it can grab

 

Just like humans. The child does not want to leave and therefore holds on to whatever it can grab Part II (Mommy knows the tricks)

 

Just like humans. The child does not want to leave and therefore holds on to whatever it can grab. Part III (damn it…)

 

 

 

starlight dinner

 

 

 

wild pigs appreciate the regular feeding times… this banana was given to it by an Orangutan baby

 

 

 

The ranger have to lock their food supplies quite well. The apes are incredibly intelligent and remember quite well where all the food was hidden. Before we left for the first camp, Anang warned us not to put anything in our water (like engergy drinks etc). „The know that the colourful stuff is the sweet stuff!“

 

 

 

Posing… Heidi Klum would have been so proud!

 

 

Anang

 

looking for food without getting caught by a crocodile

 

looking for food without getting caught by a crocodile

4 Kommentare auf “Jungle Adventures”

  1. Helga sagt:

    oooooohhhhhhhh…….wie doll find ich das denn????SEHR,SEHR,SEHR………auch die „Futterzeit“ ;-) ;-) :-)

  2. Benni sagt:

    Bis jetzt war ich nur ein bisschen neidisch, aber …Orang-Utans…ooooohhhhhhhh…

  3. Benni sagt:

    Ich habe Zweifel, dass ihr zwei nochmal ins „normale“ Leben zurückfindet. :D

  4. Uwe sagt:

    Hi,
    tolle Fotos, wecken die Erinnerungen an 2009 wach.
    Da waren wir auch im Camp und können uns noch gut an Princessa erinnern.
    Nächsten Mittwoch gehts wieder nach Borneo, mal gucken was wir so erleben.

    lg Krisna und Uwe