Kakaban Island, Indonesia

From Brunei to Bali: Tales from Real-Life Explorers

Zegrahm Contributor|December 4, 2012|Blog Post

In the spring of 2013, travel to a world of fascinating cultures, luscious landscapes, and an amazing diversity of tropical flora, fauna, and marine life. A place where orangutans and jellyfish provide fodder for stories that will amaze your friends and family for years to come.

In 2006, Rodica W. joined her first Zegrahm voyage, Brunei to Bali, and learned the true meaning of the phrase, 'Expedition Stop.'

“On the sixth day of the voyage, just as we were settling in for an afternoon at leisure, Mike Messick announced an unplanned Expedition Stop. We stepped ashore on uninhabited Kakaban Island, a tropical paradise fringed by golden sand beaches and backed by gargantuan-leafed plants, palms, and vines. We followed our fearless leader into the magnificent forest and within minutes a lake appeared at the edge of a platform where Mike, with a huge grin and the sweep of an arm, directed us to “just jump in.” Heeding the “because it’s there” voice of our inner adventurer, we did. After millions of years of total isolation, the resident jellyfish of this landlocked lake have evolved into a species both stingless and sightless, needing only the photosynthesizing energy of the sun to sustain them. As we swam out, an incredible scene unfolded before our eyes. At first we encountered hundreds, then thousands of pulsating jellyfish, pink-tinted bubbles ranging in size from thumbnail to fist. We were like atoms in that universe, suspended in an eternal moment of cosmic delight.”

On the same expedition, Andrew A. felt a genuine connection when visiting the orangutans.

“After an early morning docking in Sandakan, we arrived at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Standing behind a rope barrier, our group was able to spend nearly an hour observing and photographing three young orangutans climbing and learning how to snack on fruit in their forest hospital. While viewing these juveniles, some of us were able to make eye contact with these young orangutans who were just learning to forage for themselves in front of an audience. As quietly as possible, we admired them and snapped photographic memories that will last a lifetime. Our visit took place over six years ago in a remote and specialized rehabilitation center on a corner of the third largest island in the world; it might as well have been yesterday.”

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