Location: Kumai, Borneo

The sleep last night was amazing. We had mosquito nets set up by the staff on the riverboat, and we slept to the sounds of crickets and insects in nature. The colder breeze and calm waters were a great change from the warm and rocky bunks in Argo the nights before. Breakfast was bread with kaya, a form of coconut jam, flavored with the sweet-smelling Pandan leaves. We took the boat over to an orangutan feeding station at a separate camp to watch them while they eat. After an hour of waiting, a female orangutan and her infant arrived at the feeding platform. The reason why it took so long for the orangutan to arrive was that it is now the fruit season, where the orangutans have plenty of alternate food sources in the wild and hence did not need to depend on humans as much.

We then moved off to another location along the river, where each of us was handed a young tree to plant in an open area that was destroyed by fire some time ago. There were more than 70 types of trees to choose from, all of which had benefits to the orangutan. The final destination of our tour in Kumai was another feeding station at the last of the three orangutan rehabilitation camps. We struck gold when the dominant male, which is very elusive and rare to come by, swung over to the feeding platform to consume his meal. There is only one dominant male per camp, and it is characterized by huge, formidable cheeks. There were also four other females and two infant orangutans who were there as well. After their dinner, the orangutans made their nests with the branches on top of the trees near the feeding station to take their night’s rest. Our tour has ended, and we make our way on the river back to Argo. It gets dark early here, going completely dark at around 6 pm or so. Fireflies gathered on the vegetation beside the river, creating a beautiful visual of glitter sprinkled on the banks. Many of us bonded and watched the night sky, feeling fortunate that the sky was clear and that we were able to enjoy the peace and quiet of nightlife in Borneo. At times, we could picture the stars as an extension of fireflies from the river bank. Once we got back to Argo, it was full steam ahead. We worked together as a crew, laying lines, putting up sails, securing equipment, reeling in the anchor, and getting ready to go. We left Kumai this night itself, and for us, it’s back on the boat again.