So where did we leave off? Oh yeah the Pondok Tanggui feeding station. After finishing up there we boarded the klotoks and headed TWO MORE HOURS upriver to Camp Leakey. On a side note, I'm not going to go into the history of Camp Leakey and Dr. Birute Galdikas, but if you click on the links (and you should!) you can read all about them. Dr. Galdikas is to orangutans what Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall were to mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. I also highly recommend the documentary "Born to be Wild" which you can download on iTunes. Interesting and important.
Back to the river. Because I got to spend so much time on it (8 HOURS) you
The above pic is a klotok and let's just say they aren't the most reliable or expedient form of transportation! What the speedboat that ER donated to Camp Leakey can cover in an hour takes these guys FOUR! Just saying.....
I was THIS close to knocking that guy out and stealing his ride.
This would be klotok rush hour, I guess.
The dock at Camp Leakey.
For me, this was the most interesting part of the trip mostly because we had the rare opportunity of having Dr. Galdikas traveling with our group so we got to see the orangs interacting with her.
This is Percy, and if I remember correctly, he is one of the orangs that Dr. Galdikas has raised since he was a baby (they say he's about 10 now). He was standing in the grass as we walked into camp and he was focused intently on something behind us because he approached us very quickly and was VERY focused.
As instructed, we got out of his way to let him pass and quickly realized the object of his attention. That's his mama, Dr. Galdikas!
He doesn't venture too far away from her when she's around.
There were several of these Bornean bearded pigs walking around....reminded me of Raffie!!
This mama and baby showed up to see the presentation of the speed boat to Dr. Galdikas from Exclusive Resorts.....
She was quite the performer......
After the presentation we trekked further into the woods to the feeding station for the afternoon feeding, but on the way were met with these clouds......and after they promised all of us the day before that there would be no rain and it would be a waste to take our rain gear.....
The put out the bananas and milk and made the dinner call. This Gibbon was the first (and for a while, the only) guy to show up. Dr. Galdikas said he was always the first to dinner and may be the only one today because the orangutans don't like thunder and lightening any more than we do!!
It was starting to come down pretty good by the time this guy showed up and since none of us had rain gear, we started high-tailing it back to the dock and those luxurious klotoks!
There may or may not have been an
international small incident involving said klotoks that I was blamed for but while everyone else was standing in the rain scratching their asses trying to figure out how to get 95 people back on the same klotoks on which they came, I may or may not have gathered 11 people together and "absconded" the first one available. It seemed like the expedient thing to do since the original 11 people WERE STILL IN THE JUNGLE and that klotok was in the way of ALL THE OTHER ONES. It's not rocket science, people. Unfortch not everyone saw it my way and would continue to hold a grudge for the remainder of the trip and would come back to haunt me later. I will say that the 11 people on MY klotok were extremely happy to be the first ones out because it was STILL FOUR HOURS ON THAT DAMN BOAT to get back to the ship.
The good news is that it cleared up for the LONG ride home and other than being a little chilly because we were all wet, it was pretty enjoyable and we got to see lots of wildlife along the way.
Then the skies opened and the angels sang when these guys from The Orion showed up bearing sushi and WINE!!!
How awesome is that? Plus we still HAD TWO HOURS to eat so by the time we got back to the ship, showered and were well into a bottle of Pol Roger Champagne the rest of the group was getting back. It does pay to be an aggressive bitch, sometimes!! We did get the hot showers after all.
So for our last day visiting the orangutans, we had the opportunity to visit the Orangutan Care Center which is where the rehabilitation takes place so they can be released back into the wild. We were not permitted to take our cameras into the facility, but they did allow a photographer from The Orion to accompany us(?) to capture us interacting with the orangs.
These adorable creatures are NOT SHY!! They're very "inquisitive" and don't have many social graces to say the least!! This one is looking up a man's shirt, but if you're a woman, it's probably best not to wear a skirt. Just saying!
This guy (obviously) walked right up to Ed and proceeded to make himself comfortable! This is where the klotok incident would come back to haunt me. While I held several of the babies, among the 1500+ photos taken by The Orion photographer (yes, FIFTEEN HUNDRED) this is the only one that featured moi! Yup! The photographer and the dude trying to maintain klotok integrity back at the docks must have been one and the same!! But I'm not bitter. Very.
While it may sound like I'm bitching (maybe a wee bit) about the duration of the trip in and out of Camp Leakey, I had an awesome time and wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I do realize there probably aren't a lot of ways to get 95 people in and out (other than that new speed boat!!)