Saturday, November 11, 2017

Josh Vandermeulen: Borneo - an Introduction

Earlier this year, I was approached by Quest Nature Tours to see if I had any interest in leading a tour to Borneo and Bali for 12 days in October of 2017.

Borneo had always been on my short list of must-visit destinations and so I jumped at the opportunity.

It would be a different kind of tour for me as well.

While past tours I've led for Quest have been traditional nature tours, this trip would be with an alumni group from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

The college has a travel alumni organization that helps to organize trips for their members throughout the world, often accompanied by one of their professors who is an expert in their field.

This trip would consist of eight days in Borneo and three days in Bali, with the Borneo portion focused on wildlife and ecology, while the Bali segment would have more of a focus on the culture and religions of the area.

The group would be accompanied by Dr. Nate Dominy, a world renowned anthropologist and evolutionary ecologist at Dartmouth College who specializes in primate behaviour, morphology and ecology.

I would act as the Quest representative, and we would also have local guides with us throughout the duration of the trip. With only four travelers signed up it would be a nice cozy group!

Having never been to Asia before, I made the prudent decision to fly in about a week and a half ahead of the tour.

This would give me a chance to get my feet wet with the ecology and wildlife present in Borneo, and though I would still have a lot to learn as the trip commenced at least these extra days would give me a bit of a running start.

Not only that, but it was an opportunity to explore on my own, in one of the most biodiverse corners of this world. A good decision, I think.

Before I get into the meat of the report, I wanted to briefly provide some background information on the island of Borneo.

The island of Borneo is the third largest island in the world, only trailing Greenland and New Guinea.

Located southeast of mainland Asia and northwest of Australia, Borneo is actually composed of three different countries. 

The northern 1/3 of the island belongs to Malaysia and the southern 2/3 belongs to Indonesia, while the sovereign state of Brunei is located in the northern part of the island.

The Malaysian side is composed of two states: Sarawak in the south and west, and Sabah in the northeast.

Several other large islands are located near Borneo. To the east is Sulawesi, to the south is Java and to the west is Sumatra.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Josh Vandermeulen: Borneo - an Introduction