Location : Pulau Kaget, Kecamatan Tabunganen, Barito Kuala, Kalimantan Selatan, Indonesia.
Kaget Island, the sanctuary of the ‘bekantan’ in Indonesia, monyet Belanda in Sarawak or more properly called proboscis monkey because of its unusual pinkish long nose. Although this monkey can be found all over Borneo the boat ride to see them at Kaget island is unique in itself.
Looking out for the monkeys
Notice the charcoal black soles and palms
The journey started at 2pm from the hotel we stayed in, Hotel Mira, on foot for about 10min to where the boat was parked just next to the ‘Kawasan Wisata Kuliner’ or Culinary Tourism area. It was a roofless boat and the sun was brutal that afternoon. Luckily, we always had an umbrella handy. Mr Tailah who is a Meratus Dayak from Loksado was our freelance guide who spoke English but had a hearing problem.
Getting ready for the boarding
The initial boat ride along the meandering Martapura river was like a city tour passing through different sections of Banjarmasin. Commercial boats of different sizes keep this ancient waterway busy. As we throttled along, the busy city scenery slowly changed to a more scattered farming landscape with fewer houses along the banks. Just before we entered into the bigger Barito river we saw vast paddy fields partially submerged by the overflowing river.
Bridge building in progress
One of many mosques in the city
Floating gas station
Stock of bamboo to build floating house
Romantic old couple
Floating house / Rumah Lanting
One of many bridges to go under
Lovely paddy fields growing on the nutrient rich soil of the Martapura river
After an hour of the boat ride we caught sight of the delta/island called Pulau Kaget or ‘Shocking Island’, for whatever reason. As we entered the swamp our boatmen turned off the engine and manually maneuvered through the overhanging branches keeping our voices down. It was not easy for our city eyes to adjust to the foliage and Tailah was the first to spot the grey/brown monkeys. Suddenly, there was a loud splash like something huge fell into the water. It turned out to be a proboscismaking a dive into the water to grab something, perhaps a fish. Or maybe it was just showing off to the new visitors as we saw nothing in his hand as he climbed back to the tree. Getting a good angle to photograph through the foliage was a huge task and the strong wind that day made our job more difficult as our boat kept drifting and shifting. Nevertheless, Mei Er got quite a number of good shots. From that spot we ventured round the island to see if we could be lucky enough to meet another troop or two but sadly none. We decided we had enough after an hour here.
Mommy with baby hanging on her chest
Took a dive and quickly out of the water
American eagles hovering above Pulau Kaget
Barges ferrying coal heads for waiting ocean liners at the Java sea
On the way back the boatman took a different route and we saw two massive log ponds which I guessed must be to feed the plywood factories here.
Giant log pond at the Barito River
Farther upstream, I suggested to Tailah we stopped at a floating convenience store (toko terapung) just for the experience. Long bundled bamboos provided the buoyancy for such stores or houses locally called ‘rumah lanting’ while on the Sarawak side it is called ‘jelatong’.
Floating convenience store / Toko terapung
After we had our refrigerated drinks it was time to move on. By then it was around 5pm and kids were coming out for their swim, splash and scream. All were every ready to pose and smile for your camera. A very happy ending indeed. Next ‘Floating Market of Banjarmasin’.