December 13, 2010

The Heart of Borneo - 5 - Danau Sentarum National Park

05/12/2010 Sunday
Danau Sentarum National Park is also known as Lanjak National Park to many people.

 Praise God for every meal we had . It was amazing but at the same time comforting to me when we said Grace led by either a RC priest or a leading member of the community which laid a feast in front of us. We asked God to bless that hands that prepared the food and we prayed for blessings for the journey and the abundance of providence laid before us.

It was Sunday after an eleborate buffet breakfast served by the Tematu Longhouse with plenty of fresh water fish and wild jungle vegetables.
After an hour's drive we drove into the rectangular and lovely compound of Chamat Lanjak. We already knew that lunch was being prepared for us as we could smell the aroma of fire wood and bamboo filtering through the pristine fresh air.
What we saw was just a collection of indigenous houses and a Christian Church. Nearer the water edge was a mosque. There were two rows of shop houses before the simple water front which was full of houseboats and speedboats.

 These are seating three to a boat - very comfortable but can be bumpy in choppy waters. We saw houseboats or Bandung boats berthed at the water edge and we slowly sped through "floating houses" and large wooden  "floating fish traps" we had never seen before. This is the water world of West Borneo " The Danau.

We were to experience a new water wonderland. Many of the participants had never sat in a powerful speedboat for such a length of time - 45 minutes.

Some of the guys in another boat .

One of my favourite shots : a child feeling at the top of his world in a simple Danau hut. His parents must be away fishing or trading.

This is a fisherwoman who has harvested her fish (the wooden floating cage with part of it under water is the cage for the tioman she is rearing. She will clean and cut the fish for sale. She comes to the cage with her prahu (paddling boat) and then leaves when she has cleaned enough for sale for the day. the cage "lid"  is open.

A house boat or Bandung boat in Danau.
It was an unexpected experience : the Danau Sentarum National Park.

I enjoyed the half hour powerful speed boat ride from Lanjak to the National Park Headquarters with 12 other Ibus the new title we have acquired since we stepped onto the Indonesian side of the Border Mountain Range.

Everything was worth photographing and it was good that I brought along a spare batter (which was not adequate - as two would be just nice).
The Danau or Lake is  one of the world's most biodiverse lake systems, located in Borneo Island, West Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. It lies in the upper Kapuas River basin some 700 kilometres upstream from the delta. The basin is a vast floodplain, consisting of seasonal lakes, freshwater swamp forest and peat swamp forest. The National Park is located in the western part of this basin, where three-quarters of the seasonal lakes occur. Approximately half of the park consists of lakes, while the other half consists of freshwater swamp forest.

Our trip was a during the rainy season and one village (I could not photograph because of the great speed we were going at that time) was inundated up to the roof. I was told that during the dry season the villagers would move back and occupy the houses and fish throughout the season. There would be more fish during the dry season.

With a total area of 800 km²  it was established as a National Park Authority only in 2006.
It has a rich fish fauna with around 240 recorded species, including the Asian Arowana and Clown Loach Botia. There have been 237 bird species recorded including the Storm's Stork and Great Argus. Of the 143 mammal species 23 are endemic to Borneo including the Proboscis Monkey. There is a relatively large population of the endangered Orangutans present in the park. The 26 reptile species include the False Gavial and Estuarine Crocodile.[3]

The lakes support a large traditional fishing industry. The western part of the upper Kapuas floodplain is inhabited by almost 20,000 people, 88% of which are Malay fishermen. About 3,000 people live in about 20 village enclaves within the Park.

Kapok trees are plentiful in this area.

water hycinth - plenty of them growing near the banks.

Each of us paid about RM18 for the whole Danau trip irregardless of the type of speedboats we used. A very rewarding and learning "field trip".

Best Time to Visit:01-Jun to 30-Sep Getting There:Pontianak-Sintang-Semitau by four wheel drive, 11 hours; Sintang-Semitau by longboat, hours. From Semitau to the Park by public boat heading for Lanjak. Pontianak-Putussibau by plane, about hours; from Putussibau to Nanga Suhaid by longboat, about hours. Nearest Town: Putussibau Nearest Airport:Putussibau Nearest Railway Station:Putussibau

 We shall return - again and again in the future. This was what we said to each other.


sintaicharles said...

What an eye-opening experience.

Ann said...

very cheap, they even give you a life jacket.

Your kapok sent vibes when you were taking the photo to me. This afternoon, I went with my son to an urban jungle, and found some New Zealand Kapok.

Peter said...

Looks like u guys were enjoying the adventure tour in Indonesia:)

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakania, wow! I never knew these place existed. And like I mentioned before, your postings enlighten me as I have always been fascinated with Sabah, Sarawak.

This will be one place I will make sure on my list of places to visit when we balek kampong one of these days.
I love boats and used to go fishing here in friend's speed boats or cruisers.
Love the pics, very educational.
You have a nice day, best regards, Lee.

wenn said...

wonderful experience!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes. Charles I am glad I was able to go with the group of 72 (what a big group) and there were only 5 chinese amongst the majority of Ibans and l kayan...I had a lovely time and every one was so cooperative!! I met one Lubok Antu Sino - Iban too...he came part of the way. Very eye opening from Day 1!!

Sarawakiana@2 said... was a wonderful journey through the Danau (lake) I have always enjoyed cruising up and down the Rejang...but this was a giant of a lake!! One day you must go there. Danau Lanjak is the biggest lake in Borneo and I am so proud of myself at age 60...(ahem)....I believe I shall return...and there is so much to study there.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

It was an awesome trip!! I did not expect anything quite like it. I am glad I have a Gll with me. Besides I also brought a small Sony video camera (but I am not too skilful with that). However all in all I did a fairly good job (for my age). hahahahah.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Uncle Lee
I hope by the time you come back you can spend more time at the Danau in Lanjak. Go via Pontianak. It is really lovely. the biggest lake in Borneo Island...Here you can cruise in boats of your choice...And thank you for visiting my blog. I have been a little too busy lately too to go blog crawling.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

dear Wenn
It is indeed a unique experience ....wish all young people have this kind of opportunity too. God bless.

Syarif Muhammad Firdaus said...

I like Speed boat kalimanatan dayak borneo

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Syarif...thanks for visiting my blog!! Speedboats are nice!!

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