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At Sea

A day out of sight of land and devoid of terrestrial distractions, frees the mind to wander, allowing for contemplation of what excitement and adventures lie ahead. The contemporary author Lori R. Lopez summarizes the spirit of embarking upon an expedition like this one;  “One’s options in this world are as vast as the horizon, which is technically a circle and thus infinitely broad. Read More>

Sep 29, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At Sea

On our final day of the expedition at sea, we look back on our now treasured memories and experiences to be so close and contact with the ‘person in the forest’ that shares 97% of our DNA. Who could forget the journey to see Tom, the dominant male and other orang-utans sharing food in feeding platform in Camp Leakey and the bonus of groups of proboscis monkey, long-tailed macaques, birds and firefly along Sekonyer river. Enhancing our global perspective, Lawrence Blair presented the ‘Adventures in Eastern Seas,’ his journey to the Asmat’s village and Rockefeller disappearance. Read More>

Sep 27, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Kumai

There are some days that can define an entire expedition and our day alongside in Kumai did exactly that. Upon setting out on a tour of the surrounding area it became immediately apparent that we were extremely welcome within this community. Shopkeepers in the waterside market asked to take photos of us in a reversal of what is perhaps a more typical situation. The junior high school put on a dizzying display of costumed dance, replete with ornate feathered headdresses and fiercely colored shields and spears.    Afterwards while we mingled in the yard of the longhouse spinning tops and blowpipes were available to try a hand at. Read More>

Sep 26, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Tanjung Putting, Camp Leakey VIDEO

Very early this morning, we boarded the Zodiacs to begin our exciting adventure for the day. Once in the river, we saw plenty of boating traffic as well as Nipa Palms that initially flanked both sides of the river. It took us about two hours to arrive at Pondok Tanggui, where we disembarked onto a jetty. The jetty was quite crowded with Klotoks, which will be waiting for us after our visit here. We proceeded along the boardwalk, from there we walked along a well-prepared track through the forest to finally reach the feeding station. There weren’t any orangutans there when we arrived but after a short while a mother and baby arrived at the feeding platform.  There were many photos taken throughout this morning. Read More>

Sep 25, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At Sea to Kumai, West Kalimantan

Today we continued our journey southward along the coast of Borneo. The shallow Java Sea churned milky green amid wind-whipped choppy waves. After a leisurely breakfast we enjoyed seeing more of National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry’s stunning photos during his “Ocean Wild” presentation, and his stories of shooting articles for the magazine. In anticipation of our upcoming adventures, Dr. Birute Galdikas gave an interesting presentation about Camp Leakey’s orangutans, and the Orangutan Foundation International’s Care Center, both of which we will be visiting in the days ahead.  By late afternoon, the National Geographic Orion reached the mouth of the Kumai River. Read More>

Sep 24, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At Sea, South China Sea

We enjoyed a relaxing day at sea while heading southward in the South China Sea a short ways off the coast of Borneo.  Sea conditions were excellent, and some interesting marine life was sighted, including bottlenose dolphins.  The ship maintained a distance of about 12 to 14 nautical miles offshore for the most part, which was a legal requirement, but it was far enough to keep the island just out of our range of view.  It was also interesting to observe how important this region must be to the fishing industry of Indonesia, because we spent much of the time dodging both individual fishing boats and small, close-knit fleets.  At least some boats appeared to be dragging nets, while others were difficult to determine what type of fishing was being done.  One small fleet that we passed early in the morning was at anchor, which was surprising until a look at the chart showed that the waters under our course were only 25 to 30 meters (80 – 100 feet) deep.  These boats had banks of lights erected on overhead stands, and we suspected they were squid fishing boats that had completed a nighttime fishing foray and were now resting and recuperating.  This suspicion was verified when we passed another group of similar boats after sunset, and we were very impressed with the incredibly bright lights now illuminated in order to attract squid up to the surface near the boats where they could be caught with jigs.    Almost exactly at noon, we crossed the Equator and entered the Southern Hemisphere. Read More>

Sep 23, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Bako National Park: Sarawak

Bako National Park, established in 1957, is the oldest national park in Sarawak, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It covers an area of 27.27 square kilometres (10.53 square miles) at the tip of the Muara Tebas Peninsula at the mouth of the Bako and Kuching Rivers. It is approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) by road from Kuching. Millions of years of erosion of the sandstone have created a coastline of steep cliffs, rocky headlands, and stretches of white, sandy bays. Wave erosion at the base of the cliffs has carved many of the rocky headlands into fantastically shaped sea arches and sea stacks with coloured patterns formed by iron deposition. Some of these rock formations can be seen on entry to the Teluk Assam Beach, which fronts the park. Bako is one of the smallest national parks in Sarawak, yet one of the most interesting, with multiple biomes (including rainforest), abundant wildlife, jungle streams and waterfalls, secluded beaches and trekking trails. Read More>

Sep 22, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Kuching: Sarawak

More than 150 years ago, Sarawak was essentially Kuching. Kuching was known as Sarawak first, then the word Proper was added to Sarawak, thus Sarawak Proper. This was done to distinguish it from the larger Sarawak which, in 1841, consisted of only the area between Tanjung Datu and the Samarahan River. On August 12, 1872, Sarawak Proper was given its present name, Kuching, under the rule of the second Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke. Kuching was named after a tidal stream called Kuching River (Sungai Kuching) that ran between the present-day Tua Pek Kong Temple and the Chinese History Museum. Read More>

Sep 21, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Pulau Senua, Natura Archipelago, Riau Islands Province

Skimming across flat calm seas, a world rich with corals was revealed through the crystal clear water below. Our Zodiacs were carrying us to the lovely, small island of Pulau Senua where we had a full morning of activities ahead.   We were warmly welcomed by a group of local performers who had arrived in a fleet of small boats from the main island of Besar. Read More>

Sep 20, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Pulau Lintang

With such a magnificent backdrop and setting it would be almost criminal to have to leave so soon and thankfully the galley was able to bring the fine dining of the ship right to the shore via a delicious beach barbeque. And while it is a deserted island, such a top-notch hotel team would never desert your dessert, there was even ice cream. Now fully sated, and perhaps slightly more buoyant, there was more snorkeling and for some there was no need to stray far to see fish. A small aggregation of juvenile cardinal fish played in the shadows of those in the shallows.  Having just left Singapore yesterday afternoon and to arrive at the island archipelago of Pulau Lintang could not show you two more different sides of a coin. Read More>

Sep 19, 2014 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

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Please note: Daily Expedition Reports (DER’s) are posted Monday-Friday only, during normal business hours.

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Please note: All Daily Expedition Reports (DER's) are posted Monday-Friday, during normal business hours.