When I was in 3rd grade in the early 70’s, our substitute teachers would keep us preoccupied and out of trouble with random films. One of the fan favorites was the documentary about Orangutans. Back then, we actually had projectors with reels! (It was also a point in life when I ate paste at school). Since that time, seeing these amazing animals in person was a lifelong dream.
Decades later, I made it to Borneo to see them in the flesh. A few summers ago (like 4), I had the opportunity to experience a 2 week “expedition” through the country. I booked it with Natural Habitat Adventures – an amazing outfitter located down the street from my home in Colorado.
We started in Kuching, Malaysia and made our way through Serawak, the Danum Valley, and ended on the South China Sea in Kota Kinabalu. We spent time at orangutan sanctuaries, witnessed these amazing animals swinging from limb to limb in their natural habitat, tubed down a river in the rain forest, wore leech socks to keep the blood suckers off our feet (not a good fashion statement, btw), witnessed 5 million bats fly out of a cave, sat patiently until 4 flying squirrels coasted through the air, saw tons of colorful birds, all sorts of monkeys, centipedes, pygmy elephants, sea turtles nesting on a beach and oh sooo much more.
For the record, we only saw leeches in the Danum Valley. One thing to note, those leeches can slink into the smallest places, like pant zippers. One of our traveling companions had one very close to his family jewels. I only know this as I happened to see him running to the bathroom on one fine, rainy, rain forest day.
Words cannot describe the trip adequately but the pictures and videos can!
Here are some of my favorite images from the trip. Not all are mine. I did not prepare myself AT ALL for photographic moments….thank goodness for amazing travel companions and their photography skills. Not exactly sure what I was thinking, not bringing the right lenses. UGH.
Also, my fellow traveler Dr. Huang, created a 10 minute YouTube video for us if you care to see the whole trip in action (see below). She is a gifted and talented photographer and did a great job putting the whole trip together. MAGICAL. I just watched the video this morning to escape to another place for a few minutes – I forgot how much it rained and was reminded how incredible this trip truly was.
Cheers to all the wonderful creatures and people in this world!!
…i choose this…