Our boat is a small outrigger, powered by a long tail motor. It's loud and slow, but the seas are calm and it's a pleasant way to spend the day. The boat's anchor is a natty wooden number, complete with a rock lashed to one end. In fact the whole boat seems to be put together with string and a few nails!
The sea is almost glassy as we motor across Welcome Bay, where we pass in the lee of some small islands sheltering a fleet of those bamboo fishing boats, and land on Handeuleum. Here we must register with the National Park post, pay our entry fee (20,000 IDR), insurance (3000 IDR) and canoe hire (100,000 IDR), have the obligatory coffee and chat, a quick visit to the ladies, then back on the boat to motor around to Cigenter and the entrance to the small river we will be paddling up. We toe our canoe and canoe guide along behind our boat - slowly!
The tide is unfortunately going out, so our paddle up the river doesn't go a long way, and is eventually blocked by a fallen coconut palm. We see where rhino have come down to the water to drink, hear a hornbill calling, see some colourful crabs and a couple of pythons sleeping in a tree above our heads and enjoy the serenity of being on a small river in the jungle. My guides, however, don't appreciate the beauty of silence, so they chat away continuously, and I don't have the heart to tell them to be quiet.
Back at the river entrance we walk through a grazing ground, spotting some wild banteng in the distance. Butterflies are the only other animal we spot.
We motor back to Handeuleum Island. By now a small breeze has come up and the sea is no longer affording such beautiful reflections. We drop off our canoe and go for a walk around the island. The forest here is typical of most of the peninsula, thickly wooded rainforest. We hear some monkeys calling, see some deer, and I try and capture some fungi photographs.
Then lo and behold: blue mushrooms!!
Who needs rhino when there's blue mushrooms instead?
The rest of the photos are here.