River Boat Trip to the Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo

Orangutan Encounters by River In Borneo



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A collection of photos from a river boat trip into Central Kalimantan via the Sekonyer River.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Our first glimpse of the Sekonyer River as we flew in to Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. From there we would take a traditional 'Klotok' wooden boat upriver to Tanjung Puting National Park to see the orangutans at Camp Leakey.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Here's the Borneo River team in front of our Klotok traditional boat. It was actually really comfortable on the boat and the crew cooked up some great meals for us as we cruised upriver in search of Colonel Kurtz, I mean the orangutans.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Even as we loaded our stuff on to the Klotok boat, we started seeing unusual wildlife. Some local kids pulled this crawfish / lobster looking creature out of the muddy shallows beside the boat.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    And we're off! As we entered the Sekonyer River, the riverbanks were dense with bristly nipa palm and the water was the color of hot chocolate. The boat kept up a pretty good pace and the river banks encroached ever closer as we approached our destination: Camp Leakey.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    The first primates we came across were troups of proboscis monkeys. Most were too far away from the river boat for a good photo, but this one decided to show off a bit and jump from it's perch on one tree to another. Pretty amazing a monkey can jump that far.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Just a few kilometers upstream, the river banks closed in around us and our guide warned us to not lose our balance and fall in to the muddy water. Apparently a British tourist was eaten by the river's resident crocodiles after taking an ill-advised swim. So yeah, that warning pretty much got my attention.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Dense thickets of mangroves and nipa palms lined the banks of the Sekonyer River. Pretty tough to swim ashore and escape into the rain forest if you had a hungry croc coming after you!

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    This probably sounds incredibly dumb and obvious, but the upper canopy of the rain forest is really, really, green!

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Another example of the Tanjung Puting's overwhelming 'green-ness'.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    As the sun passed below the western horizon, the tops of the tallest trees in the Tanjung Puting rainforest glowed with a golden light.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Dudes on a boat.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Twilight in the Tanjung Puting was pretty beautiful. The river was mirror-calm and the sky turned shades of violet and magenta.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    We woke early as the strong Borneo sun shone through our mosquito nets. At night we slept out on the open deck of the klotok. Definitely want to use the mosquito net though, as you might imagine, the rainforest is pretty full of bugs.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    As we approached the outpost of Camp Leakey, the trees crowded closer and closer to the riverbank. The water was also stained with a dark tea-color from the mangrove roots.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    One of our first encounters with the orangutans of Borneo was near this park ranger station.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    There were sections of the river that I didn't think even our narrow 'Klotok' boat would get through.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    A vintage 'Phoenix' bike near the Camp Leakey Ranger Station in Tanjung Puting National Park; Borneo, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    As our 'Klotok' riverboat approached the dock at Borneo's Camp Leakey, we were greeted by 'Tutu' the resident matriarch of the orangutans there.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Tutu seemed totally relaxed around people and basically hung out with us on the pier with her newborn baby.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Tutu told me that she is a lot cooler than Adam.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    'You really think it's a good idea to put all my money into banana futures?'

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Another shot with Camp Leakey's resident ambassador.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    After a few minutes of catching up on the day's news with Tutu, Gray invited her aboard the Klotok for some tea and crumpets (Tutu forgot to mail in her RSVP but Gray let her join anyway).

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Gray teaches Tutu his favorite game of all time: paddycake.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Tutu was the consummate host, shaking hands and taking extra time to pick the fleas and ticks out of our hair.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Tutu whipped Gray at paddycake so he had to be a good sport and shake hands with her after his drubbing.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    We spent a few more hours exploring Camp Leakey and interacting with the orangutans (see other gallery). But later in the afternoon it was time to head down river again. Once again the jungle light was slanting through the tallest trees.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Late afternoon on the Sekonyer River is pretty beautiful, with the river shining mirror black and the sun glowing golden in the rain forest trees.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    As we drifted downstream towards our night spot, the river was perfectly calm, reflecting the afternoon sky like an obsidian mirror.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Gratuitiously posed photo at the front of the boat.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Sunset over this shallow lake was shaping up to be epic.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    We dropped anchor for the night in this wetland area and watched the sun reflecting shades of purple and orange off the low clouds.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    The last few minutes of daylight as the sun sets are usually the best for sunset photos.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    The moody clouds on the horizon reflected this red glow over the river during the last few minutes of sunset.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    I used a neutral density filter to balance the brightness of the brighter sky and darker foreground.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    Beautiful sunset in Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo.

  • Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park

    Borneo River Trip to Tanjung Puting National Park
    The Borneo Riverboat crew at sunset in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia.


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