Sunday, August 23, 2009

New dry season route opens on the Kahayan River

At the height of the dry season now, the river levels north of Palangkaraya have dropped so low, the Rahai'i Pangun can no longer navigate them.

Travelling south is a fascinating experience on the Kahayan River, which is tidal all the way to Palangkaraya, over 200 klm from the sea as the river winds. Twice daily tides rise and fall among the locally named Jingka 'mangroves', thickly lining the river banks from Tumbang Nusa to the town of Pulang Pisau. Village stilt houses bare their legs and then lose them again as the tides flow swiftly along the deep river waters.

Among the animals coming inland on the tides are fresh water crocodiles, already in numbers in the mangroves at the mouth of the river. Safe among the dense Jingkas, the females are now seeking quiet places to lay their eggs.

Visiting the villages along the route, meeting the people and having an insight into their lives beside this constantly changing river is an experience not easily forgotten.

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