Board the newest ship in our fleet, the National Geographic Orion, and set out from Singapore to explore remote archipelagos in the South China Sea and snorkel amid a mind-boggling array of marine species. Then encounter the endangered orangutans of Borneo, tracing the island’s coast from the protected forests of Sarawak to Tanjung Puting National Park. Visit the Camp Leakey research center, and venture down jungle waterways by local boat to observe orangutans and other rare creatures.
Depart for Singapore, crossing the international date line and arriving the following afternoon. We will have time to explore Singapore’s diverse neighborhoods before boarding the National Geographic Orion. As we set sail on the South China Sea, hear talks by our experts and get acquainted with our ship and its amenities.
Our first stop is the remote Anambas Archipelago, where we’ll snorkel the unspoiled reefs surrounding Pulau Bawah or Pulau Lintang, and end the day with a beach barbecue.
Scattered in the South China Sea between Borneo and the Malaysian peninsula, the 272 islands of the Natuna Archipelago are graced with white-sand beaches and volcanic peaks, and fringed with coral reefs. Depending on the weather, we will likely stop to snorkel at either Pulau Senua or Pulau Tiga, both pristine and uninhabited, and later enjoy a festive welcome ceremony in one of the fishing villages that dot the islands.
In Bako National Park, thick rain forests give way to secluded beaches, and the coast is carved with sea arches and colorful sea stacks. The park harbors seven distinct ecosystems and most of the plant species found in Borneo. Enjoy a full day to explore on a variety of walks and hikes, go birding, and track rare primates like the proboscis monkey.
Continue to Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, discuss ongoing research on orangutan behavior, and hear about a successful program that has reintroduced more than a thousand endangered animals into the wild. During free time this afternoon, discover the cultural treasures of Kuching. Spend two days at sea, tracing the western coast of Kalimantan, or Indonesian Borneo.
Set on a peninsula jutting out from the southern edge of Kalimantan, Tanjung Puting National Park is a trove of rare species and diverse habitats. While the park is home to some 220 bird species and numerous monkey species, its most famous residents are the endangered orangutans. Board local boats for a full-day excursion into the forest, gliding on black-water channels on the lookout for hornbills, crocodiles, and perhaps the unusual proboscis monkey.
Our destination is Camp Leakey, a research station established in 1971 by primatologist Dr. Biruté Galdikas, a protégé of legendary paleontologist Louis Leakey and the founder of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI). A many-time National Geographic grantee, Dr. Galdikas joins us to discuss her efforts to save the orangutan from extinction through rehabilitation and habitat preservation. Our boats bring us to feeding stations throughout the forest, where we can observe these gentle creatures at close range. The following day, pay a visit to the OFI’s wildlife rehabilitation center to learn how captive and orphaned orangutans are rescued and rehabilitated.
Cross the Java Sea to the lovely Indonesian island of Bali. Disembark the following morning and transfer to the airport for your return flight.
Brian Skerry is a photojournalist and marine biologist who specializes in underwater and marine-related subjects and stories. Since 1998 Skerry has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine, covering a wide range of assignments including the July 2008 article "An Uneasy Eden," which documented some of the most pristine reefs of the Pacific. While on assignment, he has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats, and traveled in everything from snowmobiles to canoes to helicopters to get the picture. He spends months at a time in the field, and in the course of any given year frequently finds himself in environments of extreme contrast, from tropical coral reefs to the waters beneath Arctic ice. An award-winning photographer, Skerry continues to pursue stories that will increase awareness about the sea.
Brian will join the following departures:
Sep 16 - 28, 2014
Sep 28 - Oct 08, 2014
This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.
REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.
For a single cabin in 2014, add $4,310 in Category 1 and $5,980 in Category 3. For a single cabin in 2015, add $4,740 in Cabin 1 and $6,570 in Category 3.
International airfare to Singapore and return from Bali is not included in the expedition cost.