A Travellerspoint blog

May 2017

....Until we meet again!!!!

But - never "good-bye"

sunny 95 °F

14 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all my favorite Moms...

Quiet Sunday here, so we decided to check out a new beach. Josephine told us that there is a resort on the east side that for a small fee (100K - $7) you can hang out at their nice little beach, get a lounge chair (under a palapa), towel, soft drink and also use snorkel gear and/or a kayak if you wish...sounds like a deal. It's a little to far to walk so we rented one moto. After finishing yesterdays blog ...we took off. Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort was pretty easy to find. There was actually security (2 young men) at the front gate. We just told them that we wanted to go to the beach and they let us pass. We were waved into the main reception area of a beautiful dark wooden structure and were warmly greeted. When we told their manager where we were staying, he knew that Joyce sent us.

We enjoyed the small beach and tranquil waters for the rest of the afternoon. The lunch menu was simple but tasty and reasonably priced. We had the whole beach to ourselves until about 3pm when another couple wandered down.

Breve Azurine Resort

Breve Azurine Resort

Looking south from Breve Azurine

Looking south from Breve Azurine

Beautiful turquoise waters off the east coast of Karimunjawa

Beautiful turquoise waters off the east coast of Karimunjawa

View from the end of the dock

View from the end of the dock

Seaside warnings

Seaside warnings

Lovely place to spend the afternoon

Lovely place to spend the afternoon


A lovely afternoon spent swimming, reading and just talking...about?? "Where will we be off to on our next adventure??"....of course!!!

May 15 2017

Quiet morning....but we did notice on Friday and Saturday,a large number of Indonesian travelers.

Brenda made her way back from Jepara, arriving at 11am on what proved to be a very rocky ferry ride. While waiting for her to get off the boat, we observed more than one person getting off who looked like they had had better days. Brenda told us later that it got so rough that they were handing out sickness bags to everyone as a precaution.

Also, arriving with Brenda were our bags from the Quest Hotel. With the help of Sudar's brother, they had made their way from Semarang.
We sat for a bit and got the highlights of her trip (with Linda and Wayne) to Borbodur and Jogya. It was time to head towards the coffee shop where the 1pm English classes were to be held.

The first day and first groups of the Hello Karimunjawa classes where a little of everything...and everyone. There was a small group of adults, a few local teachers and a small group of children. Since these lessons are being aimed at working adults, children were not expected. BUT...what can you do?? Being the teacher's teacher, Brenda didn't hesitate. The next thing I knew, she had jumped in with both feet and there I was right along with her. For the next hour and a half, it was numbers, basic English words, colors and A, B, C's. The group of nine little girls were like little sponges...they soaked it all in.

Hello Karimunjawa

Hello Karimunjawa

Children participating in English Class

Children participating in English Class

Enjoying English Class

Enjoying English Class

Village children enjoying their lesson

Village children enjoying their lesson

With the interest shown from the children, Josephine and Joyce are going to work with local teachers and try and keep this also in their program.
I'd forgotten how tiring teaching can be, especially in the tropical heat and humidity of Karimunjawa. A quick late afternoon nap came as no surprise.

Since Brenda had not eaten at Eat and Meet....and we had also met one of the owners (Butz) at the English Classes (Eat and Meet is one of the sponsors) we headed back there for dinner. While eating dinner, we saw Sudar who told us that Joyce and Josephine were at the coffee shop. The evening classes were scheduled for 730pm and 830pm so Brenda and I wandered over to see how things were progressing. It was encouraging to see two good sized groups. One was a chatty group of high school girls and the other, a slightly more serious group of adult learners but in total about 30 people. For the first day of class, a good turn out.`

May 16 2017

Today will be our last full day in Indonesia. It's about this time in a trip that I start to get antsy. It's not only our last day in Indonesia but the last day of our six week trip. We're pretty much packed and we've made sure that we've paid our bill at Panorama. Joyce did ask, if she could get lobster, would we be interested in grilled lobster tonight. We were both totally in, but Brenda's belly is not so great so she opted out.

Packing has been a bit of a project though. Our flight out tomorrow is on a small twelve seat turbo prop with a free baggage limit of 10K (22.2lbs). I think we'll be ok...not sure about Brenda....

The "Hello Karimunjawa" class started again today at 1pm, with Brenda opting out I made my way down the quiet lane to the temporary classroom area. There was a small group of adults BUT the group of children had grown to about 20. I asked if it was ok if I taught today's lesson and started where we had left off yesterday. Continuing with letters, numbers and colors, I moved on to body parts and a rousing rendition of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes....evoking laughs and giggles from all the children and a couple of observing adults.

Dinner tonight was very special - fresh spiny lobster in an incredibly delicious chili sauce, enjoyed by a small group: myself, Jims (which is what Jim has now become known as- combination of James + Jim), Brenda, Josephine, Joyce, Sudar and Auguste.

After giving Joyce and Sudar good hearted grief from our first day regarding their map, Jim was presented with a first press edition of their new and improved map.

With my heart feeling very full, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made this trip the absolute joy that it was. It all started with a return visit to Focal Local in Bangkok, continued to Sri Lanka and the special people we met and sites that we experienced, kept going as our adventure took us into the jungles of Kalimantan for our, long awaited Orangutan tour and culminated in the little island of Karimunjawa where I learned to ride a moto, took some time to relax, met some wonderful new friends and hopefully helped a few in the process.

I have a very hard time saying good-bye. There are "always" tears...so I'll just say ......"until we meet again" with every hope that we will meet again in the not too distant future.

Posted by pjburke 06:05 Archived in Indonesia Tagged hello karimunjawa Comments (1)

You always need a little down time....

sunny 95 °F

11 May 2017

The power went out (all over the island) sometime during the night. About 4am, I heard a knock on our door and it was Brenda. She was not feeling well at all. One of the things I always pack in our first aid kit is rehydration tablets. We grabbed a bottle of water, added the tablets and got her settled out on the porch. which is much cooler and has a nice breeze. Always, always remember when out on the water...Hydrate!!!
It took a while, but B finally started feeling better. She was a bit concerned because she was scheduled to leave for a two hour ferry ride, but, all turned out well.

Wayne, Linda and Brenda left for the boat about 1130....our power was still off. Feeling a little cooped up, Jim and I took a walk through the village. No power anywhere and the village people were outside just trying to stay cool. We ended up by the harbour at Ebu Ester Warung for lunch. As long as you have a fire, you can still have food. Lunch was tasty and the breeze from the water very cooling.

Later in the day, after a lazy afternoon, as we were walking to dinner, we saw Joyce and she let us know that something major (not sure what) had broken at the power plant and they were bringing the parts in from Jepara. No ETA for power. A few places had generators, one was Eat and Meet so we ended up there for dinner. I'm a little "riced out" so Pasta Puttanesca and pizza sounded really good ....and they were.

By the time we got back to Panorama, Sudar had secured a generator which gave us lights, a fan and.......wifi. No A/C but the whirling blades of the fan were a welcome sound. Shortly after we went to bed.....tah dah....we had A/C. Yeah!!!!

12 May 2017

We woke up to full power restoration. I'm sure I'm not the only one that is happy. I know that on weekend the island gets very busy and both Happinezz and Panorama were almost totally booked.

My plan for the previous day had been to catch up on my blog. I did the best I could until my netbook ran out of power. With power restored, I was able to post the rest of Borneo. I did realize that there are so many pics of the Orangutans that I want to post. I'll do that on Shutterfly when I get home.

Dinner was a Fish BBQ over at Happinezz. Joyce and Sudar set this up for guests each Friday night...as long as they have at least 6 people. I think there was more than 12. Auguste was the fish cooker, with his wife, Iga and Kana (cook for Happinezz) working the kitchen. It was delicious!!!!!! We chatted with Sally (a travel writer) who we met on our first day. We got some great hints for future trips.
http://www.thehappinezz.com/

Happinezz.....

Happinezz.....

Auguste and his grilling masterpiece

Auguste and his grilling masterpiece

Guests waiting for BBQ at Happinezz

Guests waiting for BBQ at Happinezz

13 May 2017

What to do today??? Not much...but that's ok. It feels like we've been going, going, going for the last five weeks. I continue to work on the blog..which I thoroughly enjoy. We talked with Josephine about a beach close by and got a recommendation, which I think we'll do tomorrow.

Note:Joyce and Josephine (who we met on the ferry over) with the help of a Dutch bank (both Joyce and Josephine are Dutch) , donations from friends and family, local businesses and the support of the community, have developed a foundation that will help teach English to the local people - concentrating on those in the tourist industry. In the last few years, tourism has taken off, so there is definitely a need.

The first informational meeting will be Monday, May 15th. When Brenda and I heard about this project from Josephine, we let her know of our teaching experience in China and "if" they needed extra English speaking bodies, we were more than willing to help. Joyce and Josephine have wisely learned that you never turn down volunteer help. Brenda will be back Monday morning in time for the meeting. There classes will continue but the only one we will be able to help with will be on Tuesday (we're leaving on Wednesday). I think we've even gotten Jim on board...we think!!!

We're excited to be able to help with their project. Check out their website: http://www.hellokarimunjawa.com/en/home-2/

Dinner: Jim was craving some western food so it was back to Eat and Meet. Don't know who their chef is but the Spaghetti Bolognese was delicious and Jim said that their Veggie Burger was probably the best he's ever had....that is saying something.

A few photos from our wanderings:

Local Children

Local Children

Local Fruit Market

Local Fruit Market

Sunset from the roof of Panorama

Sunset from the roof of Panorama

Sudar!!!

Sudar!!!

Unusual treehouse

Unusual treehouse

Even she's too young to drive the moto....a couple more years to go

Even she's too young to drive the moto....a couple more years to go

Grandfather babysitting

Grandfather babysitting

Neighbor

Neighbor

Side view of Panorama from the sidewalk

Side view of Panorama from the sidewalk

Local Mosque

Local Mosque

Jumping from the fishing boat

Jumping from the fishing boat

Fishing boats moored in the harbour

Fishing boats moored in the harbour

Karimunjawa village from the end of the pier

Karimunjawa village from the end of the pier

Local Flower

Local Flower

Interesting construction

Interesting construction

Drying rice

Drying rice

Drying Fish

Drying Fish


Posted by pjburke 19:35 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

One Fishie...Two Fishie,...Three Fishie...Four....

Snorkeling on Karimunjawa

sunny 95 °F

10 May 2017

Our snorkeling trip should have started at 0830 but a couple things slowed us down. #1 - our trip details changed and #2 Wayne and Linda had also changed their travel plans.

Linda's 99 year old Mom has had some problems and they have decided that they need to get home a bit earlier than planned. They will be leaving this Sunday from Surabaya. But, they also wanted to get down to Borobudur in southern Java.

Due to a power outage, they've been working over the phone and it's been time consuming.

While Joyce was helping us, our snorkeling guide came in - his grandmother had passed away and she would need to get another guide.

Also....With the change for Wayne and Linda...Brenda was invited to go with them. We'd been to Borobudur a few years ago and it's definitely worth the trip. Decision was made, they will leave on Thursday, take the ferry to Kendall (near Semarang) and then a car to Borobudur, then on to Yogyakarta( Jogya) and then they will head to Surabaya and Brenda will come back here on Monday and we will all leave on Wednesday to Bangkok and then home on Thursday.......

It was time to head to the harbour to get a start on our snorkeling trip. For $20 per person, we got our own private boat, snorkeling gear, guide and a grilled fish lunch on the beach.

We stopped two different places. The first stop had sooo many fish and the second - so much coral. Although there is some coral bleaching in the this area, much less than we'd seen in Sri Lanka.

Tons of fish

Tons of fish

More fish

More fish

Linda, Patty, Brenda and Jim

Linda, Patty, Brenda and Jim

Wayne, Linda and Jim enjoying the ride

Wayne, Linda and Jim enjoying the ride

View off our lunch island

View off our lunch island

A group of young men from Jakarta on holiday

A group of young men from Jakarta on holiday

Enjoying our grilled fish lunch

Enjoying our grilled fish lunch

Coral

Coral

Our last stop...the deserted island

Our last stop...the deserted island

Our boat

Our boat

For dinner, we all went a few doors down to Cafe Amour. The service was very good but I really like the squid at the fish market better....but...All in all it was a very good day.

Posted by pjburke 02:24 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Moto time.....

sunny 95 °F

09 May 2017

Up early - great night sleep!! Breakfast and it was time for Moto 101. I've really wanted to learn how to ride a moto but most islands are just too busy. Sudar took me down the small dirt road to the main road and showed me how to start, stop and go. It's pretty simple though turning around proved to be my nemesis. Brenda, Jim and I all had our own motos and Linda and Wayne rode together. Before the beach....we had to get gas. The benzine (petrol) station was just up the road and there was a long line of motos to fill up.

Moto Mama 1

Moto Mama 1

Moto Mama 2

Moto Mama 2

That done and we were off. We knew the route should go past Happinezz but when we go there, there was a wedding at a house down the road which blocked the whole road. That would never happen at home. So it was turn around, then left, left and another left and we were off. We found the turnoff but the road up the hill had two small cement lanes which proved a little difficult for first time moto drivers but we made it.

Finding Sunset Beach made it all worthwhile...one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Strange to say, since we live in the desert, but anywhere on or near water is my "happy place". I was happy here. We spent the morning swimming along the beach. Lunch was ordered from one of the half dozen warungs. A little more swimming and it was time for JIm and I to head back. I had to make sure I don't get too much sun.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach

Good words to live by

Good words to live by

Beach Boat

Beach Boat

Lunch spot

Lunch spot

Photo Bombed.....

Photo Bombed.....

Lost in Thought on Sunset Beach

Lost in Thought on Sunset Beach

On the way back, we checked with Joyce and found that the flight out on Wednesday had three seats available. Book them!!! 320K Rp - about $25 plus extra for baggage over 10Kg. But..the tickets can't be bought online - only at the office at the airport and only when the office is open. Island time....

Before we had to turn in the motos, Wayne and Brenda headed back to Sunset Beach for some "Sunset" photos.

Swing near the water

Swing near the water

Sunset from Sunset Beach

Sunset from Sunset Beach

For dinner, with Wayne and Linda's recommendation, we headed towards the Fish Market at the harbour Around a large field, people set up small stalls to sell and cook fish. Behind each stall, on the field, they set up their own dining area: Large plastic tarps with long low tables.

Jim and I had Squid Karimunjawa (recommended by his nephew Joe Burke)....it was delicious. We also tried some Ayam Satay (chicken). Brenda had a fried banana and Wayne and Linda had snapper and a type of lobster.

Good Satay

Good Satay

Fish Market at the harbour

Fish Market at the harbour

Squid Karimunjawa

Squid Karimunjawa

Fish Market Dining Area

Fish Market Dining Area


Our plans set for the next day....snorkeling.

Posted by pjburke 01:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Off to the Islands

Karimunjawa, Java

sunny 93 °F

07 May 2017....continued

Flight back to Semarang was a little bumpy but not too bad. Arif had arranged for a driver to take us to Jepara where we stayed the night at the Gecho Inn and then took the ferry to Karimunjawa. (Gecho Inn....$33 per night - breakfast included....very nice.)

08 May 2017

Getting the ferry tickets was a little tricky. We will be staying at Panorama Guesthouse and the owners - Joyce and Sudar- helped...a lot. First we have to fill out an info sheet (on line) and then Joyce would find out if there were seats available. Then we had to transfer funds to "Transferwise" (similar to Paypal). When the funds were received, the tickets would be bought in Jepara by Sudar's brother who would then meet us at the harbour and give us the tickets...Follow??? It actually worked like clock work.

Fast Ferry

Fast Ferry

The ferry from Jepara

The ferry from Jepara


We arrived at the harbour - got our tickets and were on the 0900 Fast Ferry (2 hours) to Karimunjawa.

Tourists.....

Tourists.....

Arriving at the port

Arriving at the port


Arriving at 1100, we were met by Sudar and Joyce the owners of Panorama and Happinezz Hostel. It was a two minute van ride to Panorama, which is their new (about 3 weeks) guesthouse.

Panorama Guesthouse

Panorama Guesthouse

Breakfast being made at Panorama by Farid

Breakfast being made at Panorama by Farid

The View that got me

The View that got me

Bathroom in Panorama

Bathroom in Panorama

Rooms at Panorama

Rooms at Panorama


Karimunjawa is a actually a series of small islands off the north coast of Java Indonesia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karimunjava

New to the tourist route, we found out about it from a photo in Lonely Planet and thought that it would be a nice place to visit. We decided that Happinezz Hostel would be a nice place to stay but when Wayne and Linda were able to make the trip, Joyce suggested we move to their new guesthouse where there would be three A/C rooms.

The island is simple but very comfortable. We walked into the gathering area of Panorama and saw the beautiful Java Sea in front of us and I immediately wondered out loud, "maybe we can stay here a little longer".

The five of us got settled in our rooms. Brenda, Jim and I sat down for a serious discussion. Would we really want to stay a few more days?? A couple of things had to happen to make that work. We would have to get our baggage from Quest hotel in Semarang and we would have to see how we could get to Bangkok for our flight out on the 18th.

Off we went for the 15 minute walk through town to discuss the possibilities with Joyce. Happinezz is a nine room hostel on the other side of town and they also have a small cafe. When we arrived we were all bit hungry but the cafe closed at 2pm and the lady that cooks for them had gone home for the afternoon. Not to worry, if it was simple, Joyce or Sudar would cook for us. That should have been a clue. This lovely couple continued to go out of their way to help us with our plans. Joyce said that there is a flight Monday and Wednesday from the small airport on the island to Surabaya. From there, we could get flights to Bangkok. Regarding the baggage, they put in a call to Quest hotel, which would actually involve a couple of calls but that ended up working out too.

Joyce and Sudar

Joyce and Sudar


The other concern for the three of us was the cost. Bangkok, though not expensive, is more expensive than this small island. So, even with the changes, we might actually come out ahead. I had also planned on doing some shopping in Bangkok. That will not happen here, maybe a t-shirt or two but not really much else to buy.

Lunch was tasty and before we left we asked Joyce to get us motos for tomorrow so that we could explore the island a bit and get to Sunset Beach.

So much for one day had my head spinning. Linda and Wayne headed to the fish market for dinner while Brenda, Jim and I crashed.

Posted by pjburke 22:16 Archived in Indonesia Tagged karimunjawa Comments (1)

More time on the river

overcast

05 May 2017

Pretty good nights' sleep, again Yana's magic with food is amazing - breakfast is great.

Today, the plan is two different feeding stations : Pondok Tanggui and a return to Leakey.

Wayne wasn't feeling well (it happens)... so he stayed behind to recover.

The river

The river

This trip is all about the Orangutans. Each station we went to was a different experience and we saw different animals. One of the highlights was seeing "Carlos" -- currently the dominant male in the area. "Tom" was the dominate male but hasn't been seen for about four months and Arif lets us know that there was probably a fight between the two with Carlos being the winner. So goes life in the jungle!

The current king....Carlos

The current king....Carlos

Salamat Datang.....Welcome

Salamat Datang.....Welcome

Entering Camp Leakey

Entering Camp Leakey

Mom and Baby

Mom and Baby

Mom and Baby 2

Mom and Baby 2

Carlos

Carlos

Silence Please

Silence Please

3

3

Buds

Buds

.hmmmmmm

.hmmmmmm

4

4


Forgot to add from yesterday - while we were at Leakey - all of a sudden a sneaky little Gibbon Monkey decided that he was invited to dinner....He would hang in the trees above our heads and very quickly swing from branch to branch, swoop in and grab some food (bananas) and head back up into the tree to eat. The branches he was on were too narrow for the orangutans so he didn't worry that they would come after him. He was actually very funny to watch.Gibbon Profile

Gibbon Profile

Sneaky Gibbon

Sneaky Gibbon


06 May 2017

Today is our last full day on the river. (After our second day we were all wondering if 5D/4N was too long....it's not. There was no wifi and rarely cell coverage but that was OK. We had the chance to leisurely enjoy this area without outside interference)

After breakfast we make our way along the river - always on the lookout for birds or other primates. Our morning destination is Pondok Kerja where we will have a chance to plant trees that have been donated by Orangutan Applause. The planting area was about 1Km walk into the jungle along a primitive walkway (no OSHA out here) to the base station. This a government run, one man station. The gentleman who works here has the job of separating the seedlings, planting some and assisting volunteers (us) with planting and marking.

Tree lined walkway

Tree lined walkway


Our walkway into the jungle

Our walkway into the jungle


The tree guy

The tree guy


Tree planters

Tree planters

Jim planted an Aru Tree (aka Christmas tree)

Jim planted an Aru Tree (aka Christmas tree)

My Tree

My Tree


Our last feeding station is one that is government run and is the most basic. It also had fewer boats going there and fewer Orangutans. We found it ironic that, at the other camps, the animals are given bananas, mangos and milk and here just sugar cane. I think they know were the best "eats" are.

When going into the jungle on a boat everything for the trip is pre determined. After a hot day in the jungle a glass of beer sounds very good but ..it has to be ordered ahead of time and....well, I forgot to order the beer. We didn't find out until we asked Arif about it on our 2nd day. It wasn't a big deal but if you remember from my previous posting...most reasonable requests are usually granted. Arif came to us yesterday and told us that we'd have beer for our last day. How it arrived was an actual event: There was a large boat coming up the river towards us. They got very close and Arif runs to the front of our boat. They pass over a styrofoam cooler. We thought it food was for dinner....nope...it was the beer. Dessy can do anything!!!!

The beer has arrived

The beer has arrived

The Captain nestled our boat along a reeded area to moor for our last night. Arif had one last treat for the trip. Once it got dark, he brought us all out to the front of the boat and up in the trees were hundreds of blinking fireflies. What a way to end our trip.

07 May 2017

After breakfast we made our way back to the main river and to our port in Kumai where we were transported back to the airport. Sadly, it was time to say goodbye. I doubt that another trip to this wonderful place is in our future but we'll always have such incredible memories......and also.....well, there's always Facebook (lololol)

Our Crew....with sad ..until we meet again

Our Crew....with sad ..until we meet again


Posted by pjburke 00:26 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Our First Orangutan Sighting....

semi-overcast 95 °F

04 May 2017

Our stacked cushioned beds were surprisingly comfortable - though there was the high decibel drone of the two snoring men...and it wasn't the crew.

Bedding before netting

Bedding before netting

Bedding after netting

Bedding after netting


The sun rose about 530am and as we wandered out of our mosquito netting cocoons, we found that our boat was nestled under a very large tree filled with proboscis monkeys. More visible in the morning light, it was fun just to sit and watch. We do realize already that is going to be a HOT day.

Another delicious breakfast starts the day. The boat is underway meandering down the river with no expectations. Arif never made promises about seeing animals. What was really nice was that when we did having sightings, he wasas excited as we were. All of a sudden....oh...look ....Silver langur monkeys (aka silvery lutung). At times, they seemed to stop and pose for pictures.

Silver Langer

Silver Langer

We continue further down (or maybe up - I'm not sure) the river. Our destination is the first feeding station....but wait....the sharp eyes of Arif spots something. Could it be??? An Orangutan...a wild Orangutan!!!!

Our first wild Orangutan sighting

Our first wild Orangutan sighting


We were excited at the possibility of seeing Orangutans at the feeding stations (which means they are wild,not contained at all.) The Orangutans are very intelligent and they do know that each day there will be food twice a day if they choose to come eat. Arif tells us that at this time of the year, there is so much foliage that they don't "need" to feed at the stations. Other times of the year when food is not as plentiful - more Orangutans show up....but I digress.

Arif quickly gets on his walkie-talkie and tells Captain Limon to stop the boat. There he is - sitting up in a large tree....it was incredible. We sit quietly and watch him...take photos - of course. After a while, he gets bored with us after a while and swings away and we are off to our first feeding station. A little more info ...if you care to read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orangutan

Our day proceeds to more monkey spotting....lunch and then on to Camp Leakey which was started in 1971. More information on Camp Leaky: https://orangutan.org/our-projects/research/camp-leakey/Linda ...on a mission

Linda ...on a mission

Our Fearless Leader - Arif

Our Fearless Leader - Arif

Instructions to Feeding Station

Instructions to Feeding Station

Salamat Datang.....Welcome

Salamat Datang.....Welcome

Entering Camp Leakey

Entering Camp Leakey

Even though it was raining, we couldn't tear ourselves away. Arif told us we could stay as long as we wanted which ended up being 60-90 minutes ....just watching their feeding and interaction. It was fascinating.

Coming in for a bite to eat at Camp Leakey

Coming in for a bite to eat at Camp Leakey

Hangin' Out

Hangin' Out

Big Guy

Big Guy

Just Hanging Around

Just Hanging Around

Would His Mom Approve???

Would His Mom Approve???

Camp Leakey Feeding Station

Camp Leakey Feeding Station

Borneo

Borneo

Feeding time was up and we had no choice - it was back to the boat arriving to a mug of hot ginger tea and banana fritters.

Dinner for the trip was usually about 7pm. During that time, Captain Limon and Sonny set up our sleeping accommodations and we would wonder to bed when we were tired...falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle that surrounded us.

Posted by pjburke 21:42 Archived in Indonesia Tagged organutans Comments (3)

Welcome to the Jungle

Kalimantan, Indonesia

overcast 89 °F

02 May 2017

Off to Indonesia.....

Leaving Singapore almost started on the wrong foot. For some reason, I thought our flight was at 11am but it was at 10am. I also wanted to get there early, as I thought there was a typo on my ticket. As luck would have it, traffic was light to the airport and when we checked in with Garuda, even though the "Burke" was left off my documents, it was correct in the airline computer. No one in line to check in, so it was a breeze.
We hadn't had time for breakfast before we left the hostel but we did at the airport. Chinese noodle soup tasted quite good but as soon as we got to our gate...a cup of coffee was even better.

Changi Airport Singapore

Changi Airport Singapore

This flight (or rather these flights), Singapore to Jakarta and then on to Semarang came off without a hitch. Arriving in Semarang, a driver from Quest Hotel was waiting for us.

This is the point, where we are meeting up with Wayne and Linda, friends from Jim's early 70's Peace Corp days. We spent time with them last August, visiting them in Logan, UT, when we were in Park City. At that time, we told them about our plans for Borneo. Not an 'easy go" to get them to Indonesia but they arrived safe and sound after traveling in eastern Java for about 10 days.

We finally met them at the hotel and caught up over a beer. It was then off to dinner. Our choices were the hotel or small warungs down the street. We opted for the warung. I think we might have been some of the few westerners they've ever had grace their cafe. Food was basic but good.

A quick stop at the local "IndoMart" (Indonesian mini mart) proved to be a fun stop indeed. We needed to stock up on a few things: snacks, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. But as we were leaving, the staff decided they wanted to take photos of us. Cell phones came out and we also got pics of them. It also took a trip to Indonesia to learn the "share" function on my smart phone....obviously it is smarter than me.

Indomart Employees

Indomart Employees

Semarang is a transit stop. Nice room, comfy bed and a hot shower before we take off for the jungle. Quest Hotel ($37 per night)

Our group

Our group


03 May 2017

All five of us head back to the airport in the morning for our flight to Pangkalan Bun. Small turbo prop but the flight is smooth, which was very agreeable to Brenda who, though she doesn't let it keep her from traveling, really doesn't like to fly.

Our Air Chariot

Our Air Chariot

A trip to Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), has been in the planning stages for a long time. We tried to make it happen when we left our teaching gig in China back in 2014. Issues with the company we were working with and Jim's adverse reaction to Doxycycline prevented those plans from coming together...but this time it was a go. We picked a date, contacted Brenda and she was "all in" and then we asked Wayne and linda if they might be interested. They were up and down but finally were able to make it happen.

I've been working with a local company in Kalimantan since last year - Orangutan Applause http://www.orangutanapplause.com/. Dessy and her husband Arif are the owners with Dessy being the main contact person. We'd had so much contact over the internet that when we met at the airport, it was like meeting an old friend.

Airport in Pangkalan Bun Kalimantan Indonesia

Airport in Pangkalan Bun Kalimantan Indonesia

Brenda Meeting Dessy

Brenda Meeting Dessy


Pangkalan Bun is a pretty small airport. Upon arriving, we wandered, in no particular order, from the plane towards the arrivals building and into the baggage area. The baggage area being a little bigger than our living room led into the reception area where drivers waited for their charges. Dessy was waiting with a huge smile and a hug. With luggage collected we were off to the boat. We did find out that the airport is actually on the Air Force Base, so all taxis (or in Indonesian taksi) are regulated. No private vehicles are allowed. A sea of blue sedans await their riders and after we're all situated it's off to the harbour.

With five people and Dessy, we're split into two groups. It's about a 20 minute drive. Along the way we notice large concrete warehouses and try and understand what our driver is trying to tell us. My guess was the closest.They are very large bird houses - swifts to be exact. It's quite a lucrative business. They build their nests inside these building with spit and then once built the nests are sold, mostly, to China. It's a delicacy that is extremely expensive - up to $2000 per kilo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edible_bird%27s_nest

Swift House

Swift House

We finally arrive at the harbour and it seems like a dream... Our dream come true! We are greeted by Arif (Dessy's husband and our guide for the trip). This trip with be 4nights/5days adventure on the back rivers of Kalimantan, visiting Orangutan Feeding stations but also observing the jungle animals in the wild. Because they are wild, it's never guaranteed that there will be sightings but we are hopeful.Our home in Kalimantan

Our home in Kalimantan

Brenda and Linda excited about the trip

Brenda and Linda excited about the trip

Arif giving instructions to his new guests...

Arif giving instructions to his new guests...

Arif with his ever bright smile

Arif with his ever bright smile


......and we get very lucky. First off, we settle in and our boat leaves the dock heading towards the Tanjung Puting National Park, the Sekonyer River and its various tributaries. Before much else happens, lunch is served. It was quite a feast.

The first of many feast prepared by the lovely Yana

The first of many feast prepared by the lovely Yana

Feeling fat and happy, we all find comfortable observation areas and keep our eyes peeled for any sign of life. And...there it is...we see a whole tree of proboscis monkeys ( big bellied, flat nosed monkeys). As we make our way along the waterway, there are more proboscis monkeys, which are always ready to put on a show - jumping from tree limb to tree limb.

Proboscis Monkey - posing

Proboscis Monkey - posing

More Monkeys

More Monkeys

....and more

....and more

The sun sets and after dinner about 7pm - it's an early evening for us. The staff (Captain Limon and our deckhand Sonny) set up our bedding for the night. Our seating during the day, turns into our beds at night. Two doubles and one single sheeted beds with their own individual mosquito netting cages fill the floor of the boat. With the sounds of the jungle animals (and a little snoring) we drift to sleep.....I think I might have even heard Tarzan...

Relaxing after a hard day :-)

Relaxing after a hard day :-)

Posted by pjburke 17:47 Archived in Indonesia Tagged organutans Comments (8)

(Entries 1 - 8 of 10) Page [1] 2 » Next