Sunday, June 2, 2019

Indonesia - Land of Volcanoes

Indonesia is a land built by volcanoes. There are currently 130 active volcanoes, including many of the world's most active and most famous. The Indonesian islands are a part of the Sunda Arc, an important feature of the geologic Pacific Ring of Fire. There have been over 1,100 documented volcanic eruptions across Indonesia within historic times.

From Kalimantan and our visit with the Orangutans, we traveled back to the island of Java. We stayed in the city of Malang. One of our outings was to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

Mount Bromo is an active volcano that sets in the ancient Tengger caldera. Ash and steam were erupting from Bromo's crater while we were there. The large peak in the background is Mount Semeru. The ribbed volcanic cone in the foreground is Mount Batok. Semeru is another active volcano and the tallest in Java


- Bali
- the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Komodo Dragons
- Village Life
- Borneo and the Old Men of the Forest

Monday, April 29, 2019

Indonesia - Borneo and the Old Men of the Forest

From Labuan Bajo our group flew 850 miles to the northwest to Pangkalan Bun in Kalimantan (Borneo). From there we journeyed up the Sekonyer River by riverboat into the Tanjung Puting National Park.

Our transport and lodging for three days were the riverboats Sekonyer and Kumai. We cruised as a pair and tied up alongside at mealtimes. These were closer quarters than on the Felicia, but comfortable none the less.

The Kumai

Orang-utan is derived from Indonesian and Malaysian names that mean 'Man of the Forest'.

Orangutans are under great environmental pressure. We made three stops in the forest at rehabilitation camps where Orangutans that have been orphaned or rescued from illegal captivity are trained and re-introduced into the wild. Most of the adults you see in this post are re-introduced. The young in these photos are all born in the wild. Feeding stations are provided and this is where we saw the Orangutans






These are but a few of the images of Orangutans and other wildlife of Borneo we saw. There are more at HillsandSkies.com

- Bali
- the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Komodo Dragons
- Village Life
- Indonesia - Land of Volcanoes

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Indonesia - Village Life

As we returned from Komodo we stopped at a fishing village on one of the small islands in the Lesser Sundas. While it didn't appear to be very large from the water it turned out to be home to 1,600 people.

They spoke no English, so all we could do was use a few phrases that our guides had taught us, and gestures and smiles. Just like any community people were proud of their homes and proud of their children. Here are some images from this stop


Main Street


Preparing Coffee

Proud Grandpa

Negotiation


You can see more images from the village at HillsandSkies.com

- Bali
- the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Komodo Dragons
- Borneo and the Old Men of the Forest
- Indonesia - Land of Volcanoes



Monday, April 22, 2019

Indonesia - The Lesser Sunda Islands

Indonesia is an island nation, with over 8,000 inhabited islands. The Lesser Sunda Islands are a chain of volcanic islands on the southern reaches of the country. These islands include Bali, Flores and Komodo


Our group gathered in Bali and then flew to the city of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores as our base for our visit to this part of the country.

Due to a change in flight schedules we spent parts of two days touring Flores and relaxing. The photo at the top of this post is the beach at our hotel.

We found this man preparing his field for planting rice. The hand tractor was what we saw the farmers using in the fields


Motorbikes and scooters are the preferred method of transportation on all the islands. Some riders are just cooler than others...


Labuan Bajo was our port of departure for a three day cruise that took us around the Lesser Sunda islands in search of great light and the Komodo Dragons.

The Felicia was our vessel. She is a Phinisi, a traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship. Also known as a Sulawesi schooner. She is a beautiful live-aboard ship that easily accommodated our party of nine.


Komodo National Park is the home of the Komodo Dragon. The Dragons live on several of the islands. We stopped at Rinca and Komodo islands to see the Dragons. We were exceptionally lucky to see the Dragons on Rinca actively hunting, and a Dragon on the beach at Komodo

Large Dragon on Rinca Island

Close Up

Baby Dragon

Dragon on the Beach

Padar Island

We spent one night anchored off Padar Island so that we could photograph the sunrise. Padar is one of the very photogenic locations in the Sundas.

Padar Early Light

Padar Sunrise


- Bali
- Village Life
- Borneo and the Old Men of the Forest
- Indonesia - Land of Volcanoes


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Indonesia - 2019

Debbie and I undertook a journey to visit Indonesia. This is a place of many amazing and beautiful sights. To fully realize our travels will take several posts. Click on the links to follow our additional stops in Indonesia

- the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Komodo Dragons
- Village Life
- Borneo and the Old Men of the Forest
- Indonesia - Land of Volcanoes

Bali


For North Americans Bali probably brings images of beaches and nightclubs to mind. But Bali is greater than that. It is an island 2200 sq. miles in size, with a population of 4.2 million.

We arrived in Bali ahead of the gathering of our traveling party. I took the opportunity to hire a local guide and tour a portion of the island away from 'Party Bali' . Here are a few images

The Water Temple - Ulun Danu - Lake Beratan


Ulun Danu is one of the iconic images of Bali. The first two images of this blog entry are from sunrise. We were fortunate to have thunderstorms in the night as we drove towards the mountains. The shreds of the clouds provided the texture in the sky.


Air Terjun Yeh Ho (the waterfall at Yen Ho)

























Bali is green, green, green. We arrived at the end of the rainy season, and there were showers in the hills in the night as we were driving. So the rivers and rivulets were running high. My guide took me to Yeh Ho. A beautiful waterfall at the head of a valley in the hills.


Rice Fields at Jatiluwh


The mountainous nature of Bali (and the other islands) leaves little level ground for farming. So the hills are terraced and rice and other crops are grown. With the warm and wet climate three crops a year can be grown. My guide says that usually two crops of rice are grown followed by a rotation of soybeans or other legumes. In these terraces the rice was approaching the point of the grain heads emerging. As we traveled across the island we also saw new plantings and rice being harvested.

Click on the links to follow our additional stops in Indonesia

- the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Komodo Dragons
- Village Life
- Borneo and the Old Men of the Forest
- Java

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Yellowstone in Winter

Established in 1872 as the first National Park in the world. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most unique and beautiful locations in North America.

We've just returned from a winter trip to Yellowstone. With a focus on the wildlife that are found in the park. Here are some images from our trip...

Coyote - He was hunting in the river flats and took off running right towards our position


Bison - These are the iconic wildlife of the park. Every individual (at least those off the road) has snow clinging to them from wading through the snow to find food, and using their heads to 'bulldoze' the snow to find grass below.

This is a minus 22 degree morning near the Firehole River and the thermals of the Old Faithful area. Trees and bison were covered in frost.


Close Up ! From the safety of the vehicle ;-)


This pair of young bulls was watching our group as the sun rose over the ridge


Long Tailed Weasel - He is a quick and cautious little fellow. His winter phase coat is a perfect camouflage for the snowy landscape


Bighorn Sheep - Another of the iconic species of Yellowstone

This fellow is one of the biggest rams that our guides had ever seen in the Yellowstone region. Note the long curl of his horns. You can count the ridges of their horns like rings of a tree. He is 9 or 10 years old. And note the big piece missing from his left horn. He has seen a few battles.


We found this fellow down in the valley with his harem. We could creep to the edge of the hill to capture him up close.



The other icon that we did not get images of were wolves. The numbers of wolves in the park are down, and there has not been enough snow to force them down to the valleys to hunt.

Overall a great trip to a great national treasure. Highly recommend it for landscape or wildlife enthusiasts !

Dale