One of our goals for our trip to Borneo was to see proboscis monkeys, otherwise known as long nose monkeys. (Also supposedly known as Dutchmen by the locals because of the big bellies and big, red noses. I guess Dutch colonizers were a little different than the Dutch who travel today who universally seem to be the picture of health and fitness….) I’m pretty sure — but don’t quote me on this — that these monkeys are found only in Borneo. I do know they are endangered and really, really cool looking (Robert thinks they are creepy looking).
As some of you know, we initially went to Bako Park to see these critters, and that was a complete bust. We saw something, but it was so far away that we couldn’t even tell it was a proboscis. Based on conversations with other tourists, sounds like we were pretty unlucky at Bako.
So…in a last ditch effort to see the monkeys, we booked a wildlife river cruise for our second to last night in Borneo. And then the rain came. Sheets of rain, buckets of rain, apocalypse levels of rain — you name it, it was coming down. Lightening even took down a tree not to far from our hotel — I’m pretty sure we heard the strike as we were running home in the rain and getting absolutely drenched. Believe it or not, our tour company nonetheless insisted that the tour would go on and drove us an hour out of town, no doubt in the hope the weather would be better out there. The whole way I was thinking “there is no way I’m getting on a boat.” And, when I saw the whitecaps on the water, it just reinforced that view. Thankfully, the boat captain agreed that it wasn’t safe to go out and cancelled the tour.
So, off we went again today. Without rain. The first part of the tour we were supposed to see Irrawaddy dolphins. Although we put-putted along for what seemed like forever, we didn’t even see a fin.
The next step was to cruise along the shore in a search for monkeys. Success! We probably saw about 20 different monkeys — old, young and in between. It was so cool!
(Note, once again, we inserted these photos as a slide show so if you are reading this via email you will need to visit the website to see them).
We also spotted a bunch of blue crabs while searching for monkeys.
Then, we cruised down a river looking for salt water crocodiles. Can you make out the teeth on this guy? I have no idea how our boat driver spotted him, because he was pretty far from shore and all we could see was his head. Honestly, that is about as close as I want to get to a salt water croc anyway.
Finally, after a dinner of chicken rice, we got to see a tree lit up with fireflies. A pretty good last night in Borneo!