Bali/Kalimantan Travel Preparations
04 January 2014
The date of departure is coming closer and I am starting to get excited. The SpheriCam has arrived yesterday and looks very, very good. Unfortunately, it came without a manual, so I still don't know exactly how to operate it correctly. But I am hopeful that Jeffrey from SpheriCam will get back to me with the proper information soon.
In the meantime I have looked into some options for tours and accommodation in Bali and Kalimantan. In Bali I am currently thinking about staying at the Gedong Gandhian Ashram in Candidasa (http://www.ashramgandhi.com/) for a few days and then travel to the centre of the island and explore the habitat around Ubud. I have contacted Su at http://www.balibirdwalk.com to see if they can take me to remote and quiet recording spots in a personal tour. I really hope they will get back to me with a positive answer. In regards to catching up with my previous guide Idris, I have exchanged a couple of emails but could not shake off the feeling that it was not him who answered my emails but his employers. I will try and give him a call on his mobile once I am in Bali and see if I can get the real story. Helping him is so difficult because it seems like every means of communication is completely controlled by his employer. It really feels like slavery to me but I feel powerless in doing something about it.
Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) is a completely new experience for me and I have started to realise that the island is much bigger than I thought it is. In the beginning I wanted to go to 3 or 4 different areas but I have come to the conclusion that if I did that I would just be rushing from one place to the next without getting any downtime and then I would get frustrated because I wouldn't be able to maintain my gear properly (charging, backups of recordings, etc.). So once again, less is in fact going to be more and that makes me feel much more at ease than the feeling that I have to see and do a gazillion things.
I am currently looking at some tour options in the Meratus Mountains and around Balikpapan (both in East Kalimantan). De'Gigant Tours (http://www.borneotourgigant.com) seem to be the best choice in Kalimantan as they truly cover all areas. Apart from bird and Orangutan recordings I have seen that on one tour there may be an option to observe some age old shaman rituals. This is something I would absolutely want to record with my 360 degree camera as I am sure that this would be a world first. Let's see if Lucas from De'Gigant Tours can organise this (or if I saw this option on their website - I might be wrong on this).
I think this tour may also take me into the Kutai National Park where I will hopefully see some Oangutans