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At Sea, Borneo

After two action packed days exploring the jungles surrounding the Kumai River, we all enjoyed a well-deserved sleep in this morning as National Geographic Orion slowly navigated the Karimata Strait. After a hearty breakfast we joined one of our naturalists, Cristiana Damiano, in the lounge to learn about the upcoming snorkel and scuba diving operations tomorrow. We listened closely to the tips she gave us on proper snorkeling techniques and what to do in an emergency. After the briefing we headed up to deck six and received our snorkeling equipment from our friendly expedition team. We adjusted our new masks, made sure our fins fit comfortably, and even tried on our sexy lycra ‘stinger’ suits. After a few good laughs at our new swimming attire we joined National Geographic photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins in the lounge for his interesting photography presentation entitled: “Photography: Buttons and Dials. Read More>

May 29, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At sea to Borneo

“Orangutans are on the verge of extinction. An expedition on National Geographic Orion increases awareness of this issue. By choosing to travel with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic to the island of Borneo, guests are making a statement to the Indonesian Government as well as the Indonesian public that orangutans are important to the world.” - Dr. Read More>

May 26, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At sea, to Bali

“Partir, c’est mourir un peu,” said Edmond Haraucourt, to part means to die a little… There is a special kind of nostalgia onboard today, and every last moment is savored, the last breakfast together, the last yoga session, the last presentation, the last sunset. Read More>

May 24, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Kumai, Kalimantan, Borneo

The Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine was the destination of our last day in Borneo. Established in the late nineties the center is an ex situ conservation project (a term literally meaning "off-site conservation," the process of protecting an endangered species outside its natural habitat), consisting of a facility that receives injured, orphaned, or confiscated orangutans and works tirelessly to help them reach the stage in which they can be brought back to the wild. Most times this is no easy or rapid task, varying greatly for each individual, considering that an infant takes at least ten years of care and learning before it can forage for itself and be released to live in nature.  Many of them also need medical attention during their stay. For that, an extensive and specialized team working full time has been established. Given the degree of deforestation that affects Borneo, the illegal hunting, conflicts with men and other conservation issues, orangutan populations have been reduced drastically in the last century, hence every effort to recover individuals is of great importance for the species survival. Read More>

May 23, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo, Indonesia

Tanjung Puting National Park is a large area of forest on the island of Borneo and is a major stronghold for primates in Indonesia and the world.   Five species are commonly seen and orangutans are a major focus here as this is the home to Camp Leakey.  Dr. Birute Galdikas has been working here since 1971, and since she is traveling with us onboard we are given amazing access to this great place. We left the ship bright and early this morning to begin our journey to Camp Leakey. Read More>

May 22, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At Sea, arriving in Kumai, Kalimantan

The only wildlife sighting before breakfast was Santiago’s flying fish.  However, we’re far too engrossed in Doctor Biruté Galdikas’ lecture to notice, as our interest shifts to land mammals, primates, orangutans to be precise. Dr. Read More>

May 21, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At sea towards Borneo

A day at sea always offers the opportunity to reflect on the past days and the many different landscapes ad cultures we have been experiencing over the last weeks. The contrasts between the different countries we visited and were able to experience to a certain degree are probably one of the first things that come to mind. Today, as we navigated the waters of the Karimata Strait (which separates Sumatra from Borneo), many of us delved into the impressions created during the previous weeks. A day at sea is always different than any other day at sea. Read More>

May 20, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Singapore, the Lion City

A glittering metropolis at the southeastern tip of Asia. Perfectly sited to be a great hub of world trade, in many ways Singapore is THE great hub of the opening decades of the 21st century. Read More>

May 19, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

At Sea in the Malacca Strait

We spent the day transiting the body of water between Sumatra and the peninsula of Malaysia on our way to Singapore. It was a day for presentations, to catch up on photos and journals from our excursions yesterday, and to look forward to tomorrow. Singapore is our destination, a major port and financial hub. Being one of the world’s largest commercial hubs and one of the five busiest ports, one would expect this to be a busy body of water. And busy it was. Our constant companions in the Strait of Malacca were ships of various sizes and functions. Read More>

May 18, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Borneo & Indonesia

Sumatra

An exciting ‘double’ early start or an exiting early start were the options for today. All of us were eager to explore a little of Sumatra’s natural wonders. The more civilized of us had a slightly later start and headed on a cultural ride into the Berastagi and Karo highlands for a visit to some local communities and their colorful way of living. The rest of the team set on a quest to find orangutans in their natural habitat. Bukit Lawan Orangutans Sanctuary was once a center that recovered hundred of captive animal and released them into the protected grounds of the national park. Nowadays the recovery center does not function anymore but many of the animals, now in the wild and totally independent, live in the surrounding area. After a short briefing on orangutans viewing etiquette we took to the trail hiking up a couple of hundred meters and passing a rubber plantation before entering the jungle. Fairly soon we were surrounded by the sound of birds and cicadas and just when the heat was becoming a factor, we found them. A mother and its son, probably about two years old, were quietly moving a few meters from the ground and seemed quite interested in observing us for a while. Read More>

May 17, 2015 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.