Saturday, December 11, 2010

Orangutan encounter in Borneo’s peat swamp forest

By Kathleen Morf Vandervust

After a hot and sleepless night under the tin roof of our guesthouse in Baun Bango, it is time to make our way down to the pier to embark onto Surahmansyah’s boat. The “official” forest ranger never arrived and Surahmansyah has offered to be our guide to the park today. He proudly points to his T-shirt saying that he has been trained by the WWF. Jacques and I are in Central Kalimantan and on our way to Sebangau.

There is a cool morning breeze as we ride downstream to Karuing, the next village. Tall trees border both sides of the Katingan River. A large boat filled with cut logs is waiting for its next destination. A bare-chested older man wades thigh-deep through the water, along the muddy coast, trying to find a good place to set up his net. Traveling on the rivers of Kalimantan is one of the best ways to get around. The island only has a few roads, which are not in the best of shape, so it is easier, safer and quieter traveling on the islands extensive waterways and there is always something to see.

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