Garuda Indonesia Colours Magazine March 2019 - Page 103

Travel | Sebangau After our night in the forest cabin, we head out by canoe the next day to explore the small creeks and visit one of the large blackwater lakes. Travelling upriver in search of orangutans. we can just make out a very faint sound, which our guide identifies as the call of a southern pig-tailed macaque. I am amazed at his skill in being able to pick it up. As we continue listening, he excitedly points to the upper branches of a nearby tree, where high above us we can just make out the form of an orangutan climbing up into the top canopy of the forest. Further along, we hear the very distinctive shrill call of a proboscis, or long-nosed, monkey. “This is probably a mother proboscis calling in her wayward family to come home and settle in for the evening,” the guide explains. Taking the cue, we too head back to our temporary home; tonight, we are sleeping in a national park forest cabin. After a hearty meal cooked by locals, we turn in, to a loud chorus of insects and the odd bird call. This very remote spot in the national park is accessed via Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan, commonly known as Central Borneo. 5 Senses – Taste DAYAK CUISINE The Dayaks are renowned for being wonderful cooks, and, when you visit the local villages, there is always something cooking in the pot or directly over a fire. One of 37 fish in the catfish family, tahoman is a very popular local river fish because of its soft white meat. My first tahoman was grilled and absolutely delicious. However, locals often use it in soup and cure it. Orang Dayak terkenal jago memasak dan saat saya mengunjungi desa-desa setempat, selalu ada sesuatu yang sedang dimasak di dalam panci atau langsung di atas api. Tahoman, salah satu dari 37 jenis ikan lele, adalah ikan sungai lokal yang sangat terkenal dengan dagingnya yang putih lembut. Tahoman pertama saya dipanggang dan rasanya benar-benar lezat. Namun, penduduk setempat lebih sering memasaknya dalam sup dan kari. To get here, we travelled four hours in a comfortable air-conditioned van from 1 101 Palangkaraya Airport to the port of Jahanjang, on the Katingan River, where we boarded the magnificent Spirit of Kalimantan, which took us to Sebangau to spend three nights on the river. The Spirit is a beautifully refurbished traditional Kalimantan barge, part of the WOW Borneo fleet operated by Gaye Thavisin, an Australian who has lived in Central Kalimantan for some 20 years, and her business partner, Lorna Dowson-Collins. After our night in the forest cabin, we head out by canoe the next day to explore the small creeks and visit one of the large blackwater lakes. En route, we are excited to spot a group of proboscis monkeys. Approaching quietly by water, we are able to get very close. We spend several minutes watching the members of this large and raucous family launching themselves astounding distances between trees, then swinging with great ease between sometimes very flimsy branches. As we get chatting to the boatman, he explains how many of the local villagers have been trained by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in all areas of forest preservation. He himself was born in a small village nearby, called Karuing. “I have been with WWF for eight years now,” he says proudly. “They handed over the National Park Service temporarily as a transition arrangement, and now the care of the park and all duties are handled by our local community. We all love it here, working on a rotation so all of us get more experience recording scientific data, tracking migratory wildlife and monitoring other forest activities. We have turned to ecotourism for our future because it is sustainable.”