Borneo Equator Expedition - Jungle , Swamps and Heatstroke

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by KTMInduro, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. Boondocker1

    Boondocker1 Been here awhile

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    Wow! This is great man. I'm subscribed.

    My Dad was a bush pilot when I was growing up and we spent about 3 years in Pontianak and about a year out near Sintang on the Kapuas River... we actually drove some of that first leg in a VW split window bus while on our way out to where my boarding school was up in the mountains. :D ... 'course that was back in 1971...

    This is really cool.

    Thanks for posting your epic trip.

    Cheers,
    Claude
    #61
  2. invicta1

    invicta1 Long timer

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    Subscribed. Have wanted to see Borneo since reading Panjamon as a kid (published in 1972 i think, about a frenchman who goes into unexpored Dayak territory and lives with them for a while - if I recall correctly). Anyone read this?

    Sad though, to see the forest rapidly dissappearing, often illegally. Think of all that's lost. Borneo is way underappreciated for the wildness and wild things it holds (or held).
    #62
  3. IceCreamSoldier

    IceCreamSoldier suffering somewhere

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    good stuff. looking forward to following your story. thanks for taking the time to post.
    #63
  4. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    I went back and looked at a few maps and checked my GPS and I think the river shown in my earlier photos was in fact the Kapuas.

    It must have been an incredible experience going to school over there !
    #64
  5. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    As soon as 6 vehicles have made it up, we leave the rest of the jeeps. The broken bridge means the trail on this side of the river is mostly single track as the jungle reclaims the old road back.

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    This is more like it. It definitely feels wilder now. The riding is really tight and fun and in in places the jungle completely covers the trail . We pass through this clearing with several abandoned huts. The people who built them gave up living here I guess.

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    After an hour of riding we come to another obstacle.

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    Looking at this I have no idea how the jeeps are going to get across. This looks like a really difficult situation. Its also started to rain.

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    We scout around and find a small very steep single track through some trees that leads to this small bridge. The drop of either side was enough to grit my teeth and pin the throttle to first cross and then get up a very steep and slippery section on the far side without sliding back down into the gorge. Unfortunatly I didn't get photos of us riding this and came back to take this photo, but I'm glad I have a rekluse !

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    We re-group as the 4x4's arrive.

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    I'm suprised by how quickly Sam and the others catch us up. They don't hang around. But what the hell are they going to do now ?

    In Sulawesi with these guys, we found ourselves sometimes 2 days ahead of the jeeps and missed out on seeing them in action. On this trip we have decided to stay with them and watch them, at least initially, as none of us have really seen what these 4x4's are capable of.

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    It's a wise decision. as I'm completely blown away as Sam proceeds to drive of the edge of the cliff :eek1 . I cannot believe my eyes.
    Sovan is on the far bank and takes this photo.


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    I head down on foot at fast as I can to watch from below on our side of the gorge. Theres a winch cable from Agus's Toyota attached to the rear of the Taft which he slowly releases as Sam edges his way down the cliff. In 10 minutes he's down in the river and the gorge if filled with wild incredulous cheers from us and the crews on the other side. The photo doesn't really do justice to how steep this really is. Awe inspiring :eek1
    #65
  6. Boondocker1

    Boondocker1 Been here awhile

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    It was great living there... I'll have to see if I can dig up a pic or two of that stretch of road from back in the day.

    I won't hi-jack your thread though. Keep on posting man!

    :lurk
    #66
  7. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Awesome stuff. But this looks pretty damn steep in the photo :eek1 :eek1 :eek1

    The only way I could imagine it looking steeper was if the Landcruiser was hanging vertically down from the winch cable.

    Great report and I'm anxiously awaiting more.
    #67
  8. ghte

    ghte Been here awhile

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    Bring on the rest, this is great stuff.
    #68
  9. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    The Land Rover had the front end dig in and the back end rise up on the way down and nearly lost it . Yeah - it was pretty steep !
    I've got this on video so I'll post it at the end of the RR once I've worked out how to edit it and get it up on YouTube.
    #69
  10. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    Down in the river.............


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    The front 6 4x4's have to drive down the river for about 1km before extracting themselves up and out further downstream.

    We let them get on with it and get back on our bikes.

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    Borneo virgin single track. Absolutely fantastic .............
    #70
  11. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    We have a blast until we one again come face to face with another broken bridge. This isn't as wide as the other valleys but its really deep.


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    Once again we get it easy and find a small foot bridge and cross to the other side and park up.

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    Whilst I wait I get arty.

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    The 4x4's soon arrive and it looks like more cliff diving again.

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    First a log has to be removed. Out with the only 2 stroke Husquavarna on the expedition

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    These two are Sam's and Agus's offsiders / winch guys and work incredibly hard. They do get well paid for their efforts though.

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    I don't know where Eca's been.


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    Off the edge and straight down into another river. The problem is that there's a massive swamp to get through down there :eek1
    #71
  12. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    We are too hot and tired to go down into the swamp and take photos, but theres loads of shouting and engines and winches screaming from below. Theres also a few trees "falling" over down there by the sound of it.

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    Whilst I wait, I hang out and talk to Fred a photographer and adventure event organiser from Holland. He bailed out of the Ford he was in, before it decended into the swamp. (good move Fred !) He tells me he has never seen 4WD's do this kind of stuff and is pretty blown away too.

    He's covered loads of off road rally events over the years including Dakar on a few occassions. Interesting bloke, funny and a good guy to have around.

    After an hour I go down into the valley where we expect the 4x4's to appear.

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    Samsysir eventually emerges from the trees and instructs Agus and his offsider where he wants his winch points. He has been dug out two or three times on his way through the trees in the swamp. The first winch line he uses is 75 metres long :eek1 :lol3 !!

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    Sam owns a large engineering firm in in Jakarta. He has it apparently organised where he goes to a board meeting once every 6 months or so. The rest of the time he's in the jungle doing crazy stuff . He's the real deal and a hard core nutter :evil . He's also a bloody good bloke :clap . We are to discover that there is no "Mission Impossible" for this guy.

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    Several times he gets up this bank only to drop back down again. To me it looks impossible, and in my 4WD ignorance, I seriously think that the expedition may get no further than this.

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    Right below the front of the truck is a huge root of a tree. After loads of failed attempts to get past this, the Wearne winch blows up.

    There's several spare ones in one of the other vehicles, so whilst a new winch is fitted , everything stops at the front, whilst its still sounds like absolute chaos back down below us.

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    Alan & Karen, the Aussies in the Jeep emerge climb up to join us.

    They report that only Agus in the LC, the General in the Land Rover, Shannon in the UTV and now them are through the worse of it. Everyone else who came down the cliff is bogged really badly and that there is a real shortage of big enough trees to use as winch points down there.

    The more vehicles that go through the more difficult it is for those behind as the mud gets worse and more and more winch points disappear.

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    A team of about 8 drivers and crew then grab hoes and manually start digging away at the bank. This 4WD hobby looks a bit like hard work to me :lol3

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    He finally manages to get onto a different line and 10 minutes later he's up and safe. Agus his right hand man in the Land Cruiser follows.

    I'm blown away ........again :eek1

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    Its now dark though. Its still really really hot, all of our gear is still in the swamp in the Ford's , its pissing down and we're tired. Oh well..........

    Next up is Shannon. No problem.

    Sam will not let the UTV out of his sight, as due to a major cock up with import documentation and the intepretation of it, Indo customs demanded a $40,000 bond on the UTV and about $60,000 for the Jeep from Australia, this 3 days prior to shipping the vehicles from jakarta to Pontianak. Sam paid this himself somehow. How cool is that ?!
    If the vehicles don't leave Indonesia before the 2nd January he loses his cash ! :eek1 . Therefore where he goes - they go. :lol3

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    Then "The General". This proves to be much more difficult even with two vehicles winching him back.

    The Landy makes it after it seems the engine might explode for a while and the General and his team drive off up the hill to make camp .

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    Sam orders we take a break. His team break open some Indonesian military rations. These are boil in a bag high protein stuff. Mainly rice with some sausage or meat.
    Its not bad although at this stage of the game anything tastes good, so I'm not so sure if I could eat it every day like they do. I pull out a Mountain House meal from my Camelbak and this proves to be of huge interest to Sam who is obviously sick of his boil in the bag stuff. He's probably got an account with REI by now.:lol3

    Fed - the boys go back to work.

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    It begins to rain really hard as the first Ford appears.

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    The Fords have all been modified big time, especially the chassis which was strengthened before the expedition. We watch as the modifications are pulled apart at the seams as the winches pull up the big heavy truck. It does make it up though, but the noises it's was making was not too good.

    Its now 9pm and all of the guys in this Ford are exhausted and will sleep in the truck. Theres nowhere to put up a tent anyway. Rudy and I rummage around and find our sleeping bags and head back up to the bikes. On the other side of the gorge the 4x4's that have arrived have set up camp. They will go down into the swamp tommorow.

    Out of 30 vehicles only 14 have made it to this gorge so far. 9 or so have gone down into the swamp and 4 or 5 are still in there. The rest of the expedition is behind us, still trying to get past the other 2 rivers.

    We are only 230km into the journey on day 3 of a 15 day expedition and we have already lost half the participants !

    As the engines continue to roar from down below, we try to find a place to crash out. We beg some cover under a tarp as the heavens open.

    Tommorow the bike action starts..............
    #72
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  13. IceCreamSoldier

    IceCreamSoldier suffering somewhere

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    Wow!!!!!!!!!!! somebody is going to have to winch me away from this report!!!! :eek1:eek1:eek1
    #73
  14. Rellik

    Rellik o-KAY!

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    EPIC!
    #74
  15. motorradrudi

    motorradrudi tourguide

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    All in one word!

    :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap

    Looking for more!

    Best greatings from Germany
    Rudi
    #75
  16. cornishpride

    cornishpride Adventurer

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    Amazing!!!:eek1
    What an adventure. Can't wait for more.
    #76
  17. Natest

    Natest Adventurer

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    :jkam i don't think of this emoticon when i think of your trip. i am winded reading this. wow. what a trip. do you ever dry off? uff da as we say in Minnesota. :kumbaya
    #77
  18. rallyhound

    rallyhound Macho stud guy

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    This one is epic.

    be sure and rate this thread--upper right corner.

    Not nearly enough guys following this one
    #78
  19. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster Supporter

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    The only time we could really dry off were on the days the expedition attempted to re-group. Putting on wet riding gear every day became the norm.
    #79
  20. strikingviking

    strikingviking Long timer

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    Salamat sayang. Apa kabar?

    You guys have me checking in several times a day to see the latest. Damn good work amigos!
    #80