Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Backpackers Tale: 48 Hours with Orangutans In Borneo

A group of rickety boats bobbed up and down forming a large line shooting out from the dock. Ducking through hobbit sized bulkheads and over railings, we jumped from deck to deck slowly making our way across the floating bridge.

After hopping a half of dozen boats, we came to a small blue one, our new home for the next 48 hours.

“In a few moments, we would start our journey down the river to Camp Leaky, an Borneo orangutan sanctuary located deep in the jungle.”

The Rare Wildlife of Indonesia

This wasn’t my first time to the islands of Indonesia. However, it was my first to beautiful Borneo. I’ve always wanted to visit the third largest island in the world. Borneo is teeming with mangrove trees, thick jungles, and exotic wildlife.

It is also home to rare animals found almost exclusively here like the long-nosed proboscis monkey and the largest tree-dwelling ape in the world, the orangutan.

Due to habitat loss, the orangutans are endangered and only found in Borneo and Sumatra. In Borneo, these animals are protected in the area surrounding Camp Leaky called the Tanjung Puting National Reserve. Here in Borneo Camp Leaky Orangtuans are taken care of by rangers.

This camp was set up by Dr. Louis Leaky who mentored Jane Goodall. (There is your fun fact for the day.)

Into the Jungles of Borneo

There was an air of excitement as the five of us piled onto our boat. We sat under the roof of the top deck eager to escape the scorching heat of the midday sun.

This deck served as our living room, dining room, and even our bedroom throughout our journey.

As we dropped our bags and camera equipment, the boat began chugging its way down the river.  Within a few moments,  we were surrounded by jungle and all traces of civilization disappeared.

Sweat rolled down our foreheads, as different types of ice cream became the main topic of discussion.

The thick forest of Tanjung Puting National Reserve surrounded us. Mangrove trees loomed over the boat as we coasted down the dark waters and deep into the belly of the jungle. We leaned against the rails, eagerly scanning the banks for signs of crocodiles, apes, monkeys, and other wildlife.