Thursday, November 23, 2017

Indonesia - Raja Ampat & Borneo

While Tom was in Pennsylvania hunting for his big buck I ventured 1/2 way around the world to meet Rita for our annual adventure.  This took us to Indonesia for a kayak/snorkel trip in Raja Ampat and a river trip in Borneo.

Raja Ampat
After 4 flights and a ferry we finally ended up in the West Papua region for the start of our kayak trip around the island of Gam (60+ miles of paddling).  Our group consisted of 3 Americans (me, Rita and Leslie), 3 Aussies (Greg, Carolyn and Di), our Canadian guide (Angela) and our local guide (Bennie).  I'm not going to lie; day 3 I wasn't sure if I could keep paddling and make it the rest of the way but somehow the muscles kicked in and I did it without a tow and without getting in the double.  I'm used to river paddling which entails a lot more floating than paddling.  Sea kayaking is completely different but a great learning experience and adventure!

Homestay - our first and last nights; we stayed in 2 others which were very similar - all built over the water like this

Breakfast before heading out for the week on the water

packing our boats with all of our supplies for the week

and we're off

beautiful views

first camp night - not too shabby

lots of blue starfish seen when snorkeling

ahhh - nothing like camping next to the beach and hearing the sound of the waves

fresh caught fish for dinner

amazing sunsets

hiked up to the lookout - our homestay below

Angela really made us pancakes for breakfast one morning!

Rita - my adventure buddy and definitely a kayaker that can kick my butt!

beautiful children in the village

last sunrise on the island

The gang - Leslie, Bennie, Greg, Carolyn, Di, Rita, me

our guides - Angela and Bennie

it wasn't always this calm!
Amazing trip!  Back to the ferry, 3 plane rides and onto Borneo to see the Orangutans.

This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.  So when Rita suggested this as a side trip after Raja Ampat I was extremely excited!  I won't bore you with a million pictures of these incredible animals but just a few of my favorites.  We saw many semi-wild and 3 wild Orangutans as well as Proboscis Monkeys, Macaque Long-Tailed Monkeys, Crocodiles and many birds.  Semi-wild Orangutans are free in the jungle but have either been rehabbed and released or are the babies of one released into the wild.  They generally return each day to the feeding area to enjoy the fruit as that is 60% of their daily diet (40% being greens and some bugs).  We visited 3 feeding stations as we worked our way up the river with nights spent on the boat tied to trees along the edge of the river/jungle.   Our crew was amazing and made our adventure special.
the river heading up into the jungle

our home for 4 days/3 nights - our mattresses were put out on the deck each night with mosquito nets

They would store as many bananas in their mouth and hands before heading up the trees to enjoy

the babies were just adorable!

we planted trees in an area that had burned many years ago
I'd love to visit in another 10 years to see how my Aru tree is doing

Our crew - Adi-our guide, Ayan-boat assistant, Amat-captain, Yami-an amazing cook!
I hope to go back again one day to visit a Clinic where they take care of the babies and teach them how to return to the jungle.

The jet lag was brutal but it was so well worth it to visit such an amazing place.   Thanks again, Rita Morgan!  You're a great travel buddy and adventurous friend!

What's happening now...

Black Friday:  We will not be shopping but hitting the road to head to warmer climates.  We will take 3 leisurely days to get to Florida.  Here is our winter schedule - come visit!

Classic CoachWorks/Friend's house (Ormond Beach, FL/Spring Hill, FL) - 11/27-12/8
Peace River (TT) - Wauchula, FL - 12/8-12/21

Harbor Lakes (Encore) - Port Charlotte, FL - 12/21-1/4
Peace River (TT) - Wauchula, FL - 1/4-1/14
Travels Days - 1/14-1/18
Voyager (Encore) - Tucson, AZ - 1/18-2/1
Pilot Knob (ROD) - Winterhaven, CA (Yuma, AZ area) - 2/1-2/8
Verde Valley (TT) - Cottonwood, AZ - 2/8-5/1

Tom's huge buck harvested in archery season - he'll have deer meat all winter

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Friday, May 5, 2017

New Mexico - El Malpais and El Morro National Monuments

We enjoyed 3 unexpected days in New Mexico and are happy the weather put us in this location.  We're not sure we would have ever stopped by to check out these National Monuments otherwise.

El Malpais National Monument

Sandstone Bluffs Overlook

La Ventana Natural Arch
Lava Falls

Heading into Junction Cave - yes, that's snow!

It was close quarters in some sections and you did have to crawl through

You had to squeeze through this little hole in the gate
If you couldn't make it through this you wouldn't make it far in the cave!

El Calderon Trail - since we spent the winter in the desert we soaked in the beauty of the snow for a few days

Continental Divide Trail

El Morro National Monument

Bandera Volcano and Ice Cave

The floor is ice all year round

Bandera Crater

Tom says I must always go too far!  I don't know what he's talking about!
We've made our way from New Mexico through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas (and a stop at the Hot Springs National Park and Buffalo National River), Tennessee and are now in Kentucky by Mammoth Cave National Park.  Soon heading back to PA!

Til next time...Happy Trails!