Wow, it really has been a fair while since my last update on the Easter trip to Borneo. A lot has happened in the meantime: I followed the footsteps of my wife and have started running the Perth Hills trails rather seriously, making me stronger, faster and lighter every day. Winter is the best time of the year to pick up outdoor activities as this – mild temperatures and refreshing rains make those lengthy runs bearable while the transformation of nature into one big flowering mass provides a real feast for the eyes. I promise to post some truly spectacular wildflowers photos on iAMsafari very soon as they are not to be missed. Another project that has kept us busy is the purchasing and gearing up of our own Toyota Landcruiser – an investment in hardware indispensable for the discovery of the Australian outback, just tested around the wilderness of Gnaraloo where we have been swimming with Loggerhead turtles in Ningaloo Reef – so stay tuned for more indeed!
Although I really would like to start the blog’s transition to our present life Down Under again I think that the Borneo trip-report is a kind of never finished business as there are simply to many plants, critters and stories that have been left unspoken, and I felt that without the marvellous encounters we had with the island’s iconic resident our entire mission might look incomplete. And how could I not talk about that creature with which we share around 97% of our DNA and whose existence is threatened by logging, fire, palm oil plantations and poaching? Considering all this it feels like a wonder we managed to find wild Orangutans outside the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. But what struck me most is their seemingly undisturbed way of continuing there own business while knowing they’re watched by the very same creatures that causes all their misfortune, as if they know we are related and expect us to behave in the same appropriate manner as to do themselves. Innocence in nature apparently still exists, a thought that made me feel humble every time I was near one of those big apes.
Most memorable were a female Orangutan with her one-year-old baby we managed to see around a mile from the Forest Research Centre across the Segama River in Danum Valley. As our guide had seen mum building a nest for her and her playful infant we knew chances to see them again were best if we would return the next day before daylight. Heading out into the dark forest at around 5.30 AM the cicadas hadn’t even started their morning chorus. When we arrived at the nest around dawn there was no activity to be seen in the treetops so we decided to stay completely silent, using our best jungle stealth techniques to slowly approach the trees right underneath the nest. After a good hour of Asian squatting we deliberately started to make some more noise in the hope to draw some attention and relief some tight muscles. Not in vain as both apes quickly glanced down in order to resume their sleep-in – whether they were not interested in our presence, felt safe in the high canopy or were just too tired from previous day’s play we’ll never know, but what I do know is that we were some of the happiest people in the Malaysian jungle that morning!