Monday, December 19, 2011

Orangutan encounter in Borneo’s peat swamp forest

ByKathleen Morf Vandervust

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

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

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