Arrival: After arrival in Palanka raya most of us happened to bump into each other on the plane coming over which was great! That afternoon we waited for the rest of the group to arrive and then went back to the base at Nyaru Mentang. This is where we saw our first orangutans, we set up in our little cabin and got to know one another over a game of mafia!
7th-8th July: staying at camp we got started on our basic jungle training this evolved medical training, hammock and basha set up, parang training and much more.
9th July: The last day at Nyaru Mentang we spent painting one of their walls we decided to paint it blue to make the camp look a little brighter! Jamie, Jack and Alex all tried their very best on one end of the wall while Emma painted her masterpiece at the other!
10th July we begin our 3 day travel to Baticap camp in central Kalimantan. The first day we drove all day over bumpy muddy roads to Purukchau on route we stop for lunch, everyone is looking at us as most have never seen tourists before!
11th July. Continuing on with the journey. The next stage was the speed boat up river! With an early start we moved all our luggage to the river side and started to look for a boat. Simon who works for Borneo Orangutan Survival was asking everyone where the boat was. Eventually at 1100 a boat turned up.
Waiting for the boat was not all bad we played football with the locals!!
Due to being behind schedule we stopped at Batu Ampar and stayed the night there! There we got fed rice and chicken, Jamie told us to enjoy it as it might be the last time we ate fresh meat!
12th July: The following day we set off from Batu Ampar and headed on the next leg of the journey was a 2 hour car ride, with the driver speaking no English and smoking like a chimney we set off. 2 bumpy hours later we arrived at Camp B (a strange small town of about 50 people)
The final leg of the journey was an 8 hour boat ride to camp, however we were due to stay in the village before camp as it is too dangerous to travel in the dark.
The boat we traveled on:
That night we arrived at Pap Jiers house, he is important in the traditional Dayak village of Tumbang Tohan. After dinner we were each given a shot of rice wine!
13th July: The final travel day! Just a 3 hour boat ride. After a whole night of rain the river was extremely high and this made travel up river slow. 3 hours later we arrived and were greeted by the team there we settled in and went for our first Jungle walk, soon to find that things really were out to eat you in the jungle!
14th July: we continued doing some jungle training this time it was more based in the Jungle. E.g. Navigation, flora and forna.
15th July: Today it was Jamie’s birthday so we went for a walk up Simon’s hill it was not a big hill but had fab views. Take a look!
16th – 21st July: project work begins!! We were tasked with building rope bridges over mini rivers and streams. Most of the time the work was great. However some days we had to finish for the day as it was getting dark. Then when we came back the next day the river had risen dramatically! This meant being wet for the whole day! Sometimes we had to swim over! There were many attempts to cross using logs etc. but the best fall had to go to Shaun and Natalie! But more so Shaun as he thought it would be a good idea to bring his iphone to the jungle and then secondly keep it in his pocket! haha
22nd – 23rd July: 2 days of Jungle survival. We were dropped off by boat in a remote location along the river. From there we set up camp and learnt how to build a shelter and how to thatch it. We learnt some tap building techniques, but could not put them to practice as this is a conservation forest. Shaun thought he would try and make a fishing net contraption made from spiky rattan, he used the theory that everything gets stuck onto it so why would a fish not? We all explained that it would not work… and I’m sorry to say we were right! Later we cooked over a fire and relaxed under the stars
24th – 30th July: More project work building bridges, mixed in with individuals going out with the locals radio tracking the orangutans. This was brilliant as we all saw them. What beautiful creatures they are! Kez and Jack were lucky enough to go and climb a far off hill and stayed a few nights away from camp. On kezs arrival he was exhausted! But said he had a great time, but most of all mentioned how amazing the Indonesians are at moving through the jungle!
31st July: today we tried to climb the hardest hill in the area, Opj. It consists of 3 tree climbs up almost vertical faces. As always the Indonesians had no problems at all! Alice really surprised herself with getting up the first tree with no problem! However Emma struggled and fell, after a painfully long few seconds the silence was broken by Emma laughing hysterically!
1st – 6th August: Project work, this time building a new wash room in camp, Shaun designed the room and work began! Now work was slow, but who’s fault was that…. Was it Shaun’s…. Yep earlier in the course he managed to loose the spade! So digging out the drainage took a while. Yes Shaun we will never stop teasing you about it!!
The room went up and after speaking to Adi (camp Manager) he said he wanted it as his room because it was so good!
7th -12th: Trek with much of the group already having done a walk with the locals it was now our chance to walk as a group. We got the boat upstream to the waterfall and walked to our camp.
The following day we asked Timbon and pap Johannes (our local guides) if we could go and see some caves! They both spoke little English so we played Pictionary to translate what we wanted to do. However to out guides Kez’s drawing looked more like a mountain than a cave. So that day we crossed the river and went up to the top of a mountain all of us thinking it’s a strange place to find a cave! Eventually we reached the top and were told we had arrived. All looking around we had no idea where it was, eventually it became clear what had happened!
The following days consisted of beautiful jungle walks in amazing primary jungle! Reaching waterfall and stopping for swims was fantastic.