Into the Heart of Darkness
09 October 2008 | Borneo
It was the perfect crossing with lots of wind keeping the sails full, allowing the engine to rest for 2 whole days. The majority of our journey through Indonesia has been motor sailing and this wind gave Sora the opportunity to do what she does best - flying across the Java Sea into the broad, shallow, chocolate brown Kumai River of Central Borneo.
The high point of Terry's whole trip was visiting the Orangutans in their natural habitat at the Tanjung Puting National Park. His anticipation was well rewarded! . We spent 3 days and 2 nights on our Klotok - a narrow 2 story version of the African Queen - chugging up the Sekoyner, a tannin-tinted river of soy sauce fringed by pandanus fronds. With Herman, a native Dayak Indian, as our guide, chef, and captain, we visited the most intriguing primates in the world. He actually works in the park half the year and knows the orangutans and their personalities.
We held hands and walked with Samson, watched Ben bathe and snack on a stolen bar of soap, enjoyed the babies clinging to Mom's breast as she flew from vine to tree, but were wary of the maturing dudes who were contending for alpha male! Tom is the current King who enjoys mating with the females but also must defend his title - busy boy! Princess is shrewd - she can sign - talking to her handlers, open doors, steal canoes, and clown in an absolutely human manner. Darwin was so right!
Cheers to a protected habitat and safe sanctuary for these great apes! KK