I loved Sumatra’s jungle – flora and fauna

 

My first sunrise in the jungle – beyond spectacular. It was so pretty. A bit foggy, but beautiful nonetheless.

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Always blue skies. That’s right, when I could see the sky that is.

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The vegetation was very dense. The jungle has three distinguishable vegetation levels. We were trying to get through high grass, spiky bush and vines.

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Our guide was walking in front with his trusty machete. Quite often he had to chop some plants to help us to move forward. This is a huge vine, which intertwined with some other vines, killed the host-tree and fell down.

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This vine is still alive and trying to reach the top level, closer to the sun.

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When I saw this knot from far away I assumed it was a huge snake.

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Vines and their roots completely engulf trees sometimes.

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Our tiny guide making us a path.

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Fallen trees across the path are a very common occurrence.

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Our route was along the river. This beautiful tiny island in the crystal clear water was one of the highlights.

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This is a mist in the middle of the day. The humidity in the jungle was 95-98% at any time of the day.

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In some parts there were small rocks in the water, which made the scenery look even more beautiful.

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In some places there were large flocks of bright and colourful butterflies. Our guide Wanda could not explain this to us, even if he knew everything about the jungle.

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This is my first ever orangutan in the wild. On our first day we went for a trial walk. There we saw a few semi-wild orangutans, which were all at the rehabilitation centre at some stage of their lives. Despite their release into the jungle, they still preferred to stay near Bukit Lawang.

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This is Mina. She is a celebrity, mainly famous for her horrible temper and very aggressive behaviour towards people. Apparently, Mina is very submissive with other orangutans, but at the very first opportunity she can attack tourists. In this short video (not mine) one of the porters is trying to distract and bribe Mina, so she doesn’t attack anybody. Our guides did the same thing. Mina and her baby ate 12 bananas in no time and still followed us for a while.

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This one is a dominant male. According to Wanda, the size of the cheeks determines where every male belongs on the social ladder. This orangutan were so high up in a tree, that I barely could see him at all, leave along his cheeks. (And my camera struggled as well).

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On the second morning in the jungle our guide ran to me and asked if I wanted to see a python. What a silly question! About 200 metres from the camp site in the creek was this snake. He was almost 2 metres long and stayed very still…

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Until I decided to touch his tail. Our guides immediately relocated themselves towards the head while I was stroking the tail. After a few seconds the python got enough of my caressing and swam away. I think it must have taken that long for the touching sensation to reach his brain (if he had any).

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This cute frog loved my green tent. Or maybe it mistaken my tent for a lush patch of lawn. That happened a few times. Less pleasant was the sight of the underside of the frogs through mosquito mesh from inside the tent in the morning. I was so happy that I hired a tent – gave me the comfort of my private space, which I did not need to share with snakes, frogs and spiders.

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This one was a much larger frog approximately 300 g (by Wanda’s estimate). Apparently, they can grow up to 1 kg. I must admit that I don’t regret NOT seeing the gargantuan amphibian.

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We also found a few stick insects. Or maybe they found us, I don’t know.

Unfortunately, that was it. We did not see any more wild animals, snakes, spiders or other life. A few birds here and there, one centipede and lots of butterflies. If you ask me, the jungle is the emptiest place on Earth. But I assume we were just not very lucky.

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I can’t explain my deliriously happy state when I was sitting in the middle of the river and there were absolutely nobody around. I got the feeling that I was the only person in the jungle and it’s all mine. Until our guide found me…..

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The water in the river was totally clear. I mean TOTALLY clear. Our guides drank straight from it, and when we walked in the water up to our waist, I could see my feet. I have never seen water that clean.

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After 7 hours of trekking in 35 degrees and 97 percentage humidity I am still alive and kicking. That is an achievement, isn’t it? I loved this experience and will do it again.

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And this last photo is about the torrential rain. It started quite unexpectedly, poured down like hell and stopped in about 3 hours. Those streaks in the photo are actual droplets and rivulets of water. And the river surface looked like it was boiling. Imagine how strong the rain was if my phone could capture it. Unfortunately, it did not bring any relief, as the humidity went to 100 percent. As soon as the sun was out again, the rocks were dry in 15 minutes. The weather in the jungle is as unpredictable as it is in Melbourne.

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To be continued…..

 

Sources

Video: Aggressive “Mina” nearby Bukit Lawang – YouTube .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJxjJUBuF9U

Music: cublak cublak suweng-indonesian instrumental music/jawa island

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