Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eco-touring Borneo

In 2006, a unkempt college student with embarrassingly long hair studying at the University of Colorado sat down every Sunday with his friends (who also had embarrassingly long hair) to watch BBC’s aesthetically stunning TV series: Planet Earth.  That unkempt college student was me.

The inner science geek came out in all of us while watching that show.  Somehow we put away our bro-egos for that hour-long episode and let our jaws hit the floor while all staring silently at my friend Dan’s oversize big screen TV (there was barely enough room for the rest of us with that behemoth in the room). 

One episode in particular was ecologically startling.  Do you remember the episode “Caves” when the cameraman had to film on giant mounds of Guano (bat shit) to get the shot?  That was filmed here, in Borneo.

Anyway, Borneo is normal nature on steroids.  There are giant plants, great apes, salt-water crocs, behemoth birds, and cheeky monkeys.  So, what did we learn while engulfed in this mecca of eco-tourism?  Yes, finally I’m getting to a point here…

It’s not for everyone.

Through our adventures here on the world’s third largest island (after Greenland and Papua New Guinea) we came across some interesting travelers… some were great, others were not so great.  Groundbreaking news, I know.  Some people kick ass, some people suck. 

The thing is, when you travel in pristine and protected environments there is a certain unspoken efficacy that one must adhere to.  Here is a little story to explain the one of the basics of eco-tourism efficacy.

Kinabatangan River

A region of lowland rainforest in northeast Borneo, the Kinabatangan River is home to dinosauric crocs, man eating spiders (not really, but they looked it), a plethora of monkeys and the “wild man” orangatan. 

It has gained traction in the eco-tourism business over recent years and made it on our Borneo itinerary.  Sounds amazing, eh?

We arrived at our accommodation aptly named “Nature Lodge” and we were psyched to see some orangutans, salt-water crocs, and the possibility of seeing the elusive pygmy elephants.  Upon checking in we all met at the boat dock to be separated into 3 boats (there were about 30 of us total). 

First boat here, second boat here, third boat Brittany, Michael, Dutch couple and six Japanese tourists. Oh snap.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Eco-touring Borneo