Arriving to Camp Leakey

Trip Start Jul 30, 2007
Trip End Aug 16, 2007

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

What a night!! I think I have slept 10 minutes. As I told, at 18:00, darkness is absolute, but near midnight, the moonlight is so powerful that awoke me: I had never seen such a briliant moon! No way to sleep, I can hear noises everywhere sorrounding our boat, and I want to see some wild animals going to drink from the river. I still want to see them, because I did not get it.
At 6:00, wake up, delicious breakfast again, and as we cannot have a shower, we have to do what we can with our personal washing. We do not dare having a bath in the river, who knows what can we find there, so we take a little water from the drinking bottle to clean our teeth and wash face and hands. That's all folks!
We get down, and guided by the local guard, we go to see the first orangutans, and feed them with lots of bananas. There are not so many orangutans, but we see a female with a lovely baby right by our side. Lots of photos, lots of sweating and an ant bite on my foot is what we get from here. We also can see the "Condom plants", which are fed by the insects that are caught inside them, brought there by the sweet taste of the plant nectar. They are called "Condom plant" for their shape, no need to add more comments. Sign in the visitors book and get on board again, refresh with some bottled water (how the hell do they keep it so cold, if there is no fridge aboard?), and keep on up the river.
The klotok keeps going up the river, and we can see the colour of the water has changed since the last branch we took. Andreas explains that this water we see now is clean (but it is black!!). The water we saw before was contamined from the gold mines upon the river, and now water is absolutely clean. It is black because the floor under is humus. After enjoying for some time mother nature, far away from everywhere, and with a landscape difficult to see anywhere else, we get to Camp Leakey!
Disembark, prepare cameras, get some anti-moskito lotion, and come on!

Just walked 100 meters over the wood bridge to get to the solid ground, and we meet a lovely female:"Princess". She just looks at us, and completely ignores us, continues looking for her baby "Percy"(Babies names always start with the same letter as their mother's). Lots of photos of both of them. We step into Camp Leakey, with Kathy & Steven, we are becoming good friends. More photos. Our guides explain us lots of things about orangutans and long tail macacs, another typical animal in Camp Leakey. We visit the principal building, where there are more photos, explanations, genealogical trees of the orangutans (OH, orangutan means "man of the forest").... We are learning a lot about these almost extinguished creatures. It is really a shame for humans, they are so close to us.... It is not possible to touch orangutans, they say, so we don't pass them any illness, but if you have some patience and a cigarrette packet, perhaps the guard will look the other way. We are fascinated with their intelligence(the orangutans, not the guards), they exactly know where their food is kept, where are the keys, when nobody is watching, how to open the doors.... Wow. We had the chance to see a female feeding her baby, if they had less hair, they would be human! More photos and back to klotok for lunch.
In the afternoon, we go for a walk into the jungle in daylight this time. It is incredible!! At the feeding time for orangutans, we meet our first male from a distance too short for our impression. It is huge! Over 120 kg, called "Tom". The guards warn:don't get nearer than 6 meters, do not get in the way between a male and a female, and if a male moves towards you, keep the distance. They are big but they are fast, too, and if they catch you, goodbye. OK, we'll keep the distance. More photos, more females, more babies, more photos. Lots of sweat, the humidity is 100%. Absolutely soaked, and there is no shower on board!!
Return to klotok and leave Camp Leakey to spend the night in a nice place, similar to a lake, our boat and 10 meters but so far away, Steven & Kathy's boat. SURPRISE!!
Captain Dimas tells us we can have a shower (God bless him). In our open air toilet, there is an engine which aspires water from the river and we can have a shower before supper. We also can see our captain and our guide making some kind of artifacts with plants and roots, and they give us each a ring and a bracelet. Really nice from them. Captain is also making an sculpture from wood pieces of a chess game. Each piece weighs 1 kg!!, but they are also very nice. Delicious supper once more, photos of sunset and goodnight!
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John on

wow you're so lucky, I think I need to start planning to go there for next year!

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