Sunday, June 5, 2011

KALAWEIT , Indonesia, 30th December 2009

It did, in fact, rain and rain in to the night. We went to bed at 9pm and I passed out pretty much straight away, but the sleep was to be interrupted. We have what we might call a 'dicky tummy' situation. Actually, since yesterday morning, toilet trips became a small issue. Hopefully, things will get better - I just need to refrain from the double portions and the chile!

There's still no sign of the French couple, but maybe they will come today? Chanee should come over too - we might go trekking in the forest, on the hunt for orang-utans and proboscis monkeys and other wildlife.

Now, it's just chill time. Tongkiki has been fed. We are pairing up Leah and Smikey later too. If they hug, they stay together, that would be amazing, partners for life.


My goodness, what a day!!

We went to give the gibbons at camp 1 their chicken treats.

There was one who held out her hand - Pluton, very cute, like Tongki, just wanted to hold mine. I held her hand, even took a photo, but we have to remember that this is not right and she shouldn't be trusting humans. We must remember that these little apes belong in the wild and not reaching out to humans.

Then, Chanee and Sam arrived. Sam is an awesome dog, so full of life and active. Ian would love him!

Chanee brought some bad news about Smikey, he has hepatitis B, so he can't be mixed with Leah now. We have to wait a few months and test again and wait for it to clear up. Poor Smikey.

Then, Chanee took us into the rainforests of Borneo! What a formidable experience and definitely a dream come true!

We packed into the boat, jumped knee deep into water and trekked through the jungle. Overhead, trees stood tall around our feet; damp marshes of leaves, soggy tree trunks, and entwining plants that, at times, did not want to want to let us go!

The water sometimes reached hip level and I fell over heaps of times, shrieking like a gibbon in the process!
The Borneo jungle is as you would expect, but there was a little extra magic, the sounds.

The sounds were amazing! Amongst the green and brown tranquillity, there were distant gibbon shrills, frogs croaking, and twigs cracking under my big, heavy feet! It was a tranquillity like none other, and a far cry from the crowded, traffic-filled streets of the big city!

We didn't manage to see any orang-utans, but we had the chance to see a few fresh nests. We waited nearby, but to no avail. Miraculously, we made it back to the boat, despite having wondered around the jungle for hours. (I still have no idea how you can have such acute bearings in the middle of the jungle!)

On return to the island, we had lunch with Chanee and then went to take Manisa's blood sample. It is an arduous process. First he is drugged with a mix of ketamine and another drug which makes the wake up process not so much of a shock and minimises convulsions.

Once Manisa is out of it, the blood is taken. The 2 syringes worth of blood then need to be separated (white and red blood cells) and then sent to Jakarta to be tested. For one set of tests, it is 250 euros, not including air fare... it all adds up.

Manisa woke up for his milk at 4pm. That was good. Tongki was there too and ate 4 bananas and just over one syringe of milk.

When Chanee left, so did a few other members of staff. The camp was the quietest ever! Nanto, the vet, the cook, her son and us 4 volunteers.

Oh, I have started to make my plaque for the wall. So far, I have carved out the words ''Gibbon you love''. (It seems the gibbon gags shall never end!)

There is a really big storm overhead. The rain is heavy and it sounds like it will be with us for the duration. Tongki hates it. With each clap of thunder, he hits the floor, flat.

The rain brings the spiders, and, in the middle of the night, running out to the toilet is not an easy task....!!

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