Caught by an Orang Utan

We had spent a few hours visiting Camp Leaky in the Tanjung Puting Natl. Park.

It had been a good day. Tom, the Alpha male in the camp had shown up for their daily “brunch” as had many females with babies.

We enjoyed observing a few langurs and gibbons as well and eventually decided to walk back the track to the Sekonyer river, were our boat was moored.In some places you walk on wooden walkways over the swamps.

It just happened to be, that one of the most famous orangutans in Camp Leaky was lying across the walkway.

Her name is Siswi, she is an older female who has been through many things in her life and as such has all the experience and wisdom only life can give.

Not only was she having a rest on the walkway. She stayed there to check us out.

We had another group with a guide in front of us and we all stopped when we got close to Siswi.

Everybody had to literally almost walk over her head to get to the other side without falling into the swamp, not a nice thing since it is filled with crocodiles.

One by one, the people would cross “the line” with Siswi checking each one out

Eventually it was our turn.

Nils went first, helped by our guide.

We had been warned that the most important thing, was not to panic. Whatever happened, we had to STAY CALM!!

Nils got to the other side unharmed and then the girls, one after the other.

Then it was Genie’s turn. She approached Siswi and then it happened!

Siswi streched her long arm and grabbed Genie by her ankle.

Orangutans have 7 times our strenght, so they can easily brake our bones just by pressing them. But Siswi was being gentle, just looking sideways at Genie.

Genie was trying to stay calm, but the situation was a bit tense, with the guides trying to free her from Siswi’s hand.

Eventually Siswi turned around and grabbed Genie’s pants. We later found out that she was actually looking for something to eat and Genie was wearing cargo pants, thinking there might be something in the pockets.

She didn’t find anything and let Genie go.

The video is cut when it gets most interesting, due to the fact that we thought Siwsi might get mad and it would make things worse.

The situation was a bit tense and later, one of the guides told us that he had been held by an orangutan once for 45 minutes, leaving his arm all bruised.


Most orangutans we have seen are wild or visit the campsites sporadically. But some of them live by the camp and have a daily interaction with humans, like Siswi.

You can see a short video of Siswi and Sir David Attenborough in this BBC video:


Banjarmasin, city of rivers

Travelling by boat through Indonesia is a real gift for the nature and people you meet, but the bureaucracy and paperwork involved with it is not always easy.

We need to renew our visas every month and it is a real curse for many fellow cruisers, but as we say in Spanish “no hay mal que por bien no venga”.

We prefer to take the positive side and realized that looking for harbors with Immigration Office gave us the chance to visit places we would have never sailed to otherwise.

Jacques Nicolas Bellin 1747: Carte Des Isles De Java, Sumatra, Borneo &.a Les Detroits de la Sonde Malaca et Banca &c (Benjarmassen on the SE corner of Borneo)
Jacques Nicolas Bellin 1747: Carte Des Isles De Java, Sumatra, Borneo &.a Les Detroits de la Sonde Malaca et Banca &c (Benjarmassen on the SE corner of Borneo)

Banjarmasin was one of those places.

Main town of South Borneo (Kalimantan) it is a bustling big city, located at the junction of the Barito and Martapura rivers.

Our experience is that the harder it gets to reach a place, the more rewarding it becomes to be there.

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