We are greeted by the splash of black water from the Sebangau River. Black, yet fresh.
The black water of the Sebangau River is not only unique to ordinary eyes like me. This water is at the same time the life of various types of flora such as ironwood trees, black orchids, and Nephentes aka semar bags. If they go deep, the peat swamp forest becomes a habitat for orangutans, proboscis monkeys and sun bears. And that morning, I was with 20 other people who were about to visit.
Located in Central Kalimantan Province, Sebangau National Park is suitable as a tourist destination for lovers of endemic flora and fauna. The area is approximately 568,700 hectares, home to 25 species of mammals, 116 species of borneo birds, 36 species of fish, and about 166 species of flora. According to the guide, a number of snake species also inhabit Sebangau National Park. Hearing that, the hair on my neck got a little chill. But the beauty of the scorching sun that reflected on the black water had distracted fear. In the black water, a perfect reflection of the peat shrubs that grow on either side of the river is depicted. Forty-five minutes of speedboat down the river, until we reached the peat swamp forest. The guide warned us that we had to walk on the logs available there. Just been warned, there was a startled cry from behind
“Aaaah !!! Help me out people! ”
It was Erin, a friend from Alberta, Canada who was screaming in panic. He couldn’t maintain his balance and fell into the marshland, submerging him to his feet. The guide moved fast. He pulled Erin’s leg off the rubber boots. Then he swiftly took the shoes so as not to be swallowed by the swamp Ouch!
The shock at the beginning of the trip didn’t mean it made everything messy. Think of it as an introductory greeting. We, humans who have never been in contact with the forest, get a warm greeting from nature. This incident made us even more careful. Everyone is busy maintaining concentration. Silence, while observing.
“Look up. Twigs that are shaped like a giant nest. The orangutans made their own home, ”explained the guide. The head looked up. Yes, we saw orangutan nests, but we didn’t seem lucky enough to meet any of them. In fact, Sebangau National Park is said to be the home of the largest orangutan in the wild. The guide said that orangutans might be found in the deep part of the forest, while we were still on the outskirts. With the rugged terrain and the tightening of the trees, the guide estimated it would take a week to get to the inside.
Sincere with the fact that it is difficult to meet orangutans, I then looked for fun myself by observing trees in this forest. Nil. Nothing I can recognize. Everything feels similar. Dense green leaves. Big, sturdy tree trunk. Gigantic, but feels quite understanding for us, the forest’s dwarf guests. Even though it’s a meeting, there is some kind of natural path we can take. Until finally, my eyes caught something familiar. The leaves are serrated, like an open mouth. Aha! Nepenthes! Wild karnovira plants that look stunning in their habitat. The Nepenthes is a typical flora of Sebangau.
Not only meeting carnivorous plants, our eyes also catch the movements of reptiles. One long snake, wrist-wide, rocked slowly. We, a group of 25 people were silent, inviting the snake masters to go first. After all, we’re just guests. And in this forest, guests are not kings. Silence, is the right attitude. Not long after, the snake disappeared behind the dense trees.
For about two hours we visited the forest, questioning the existing trees or busy with our own thoughts. Even though it is classified as still on the edge, the leaves of the trees are tight enough to form a roof. Approaching noon, we returned to the starting point, where the guide then invited us to have lunch together at one of the guard posts. The packaged rice was issued. It feels good and we eat it with gusto. Once full, the guide invited us to feel the fresh black water. Without thinking, I immediately took off my hat and jacket. Byur !!! Curiosity about black water paid off. Fresh!