by : Jakub Sedivy
I joined the Borneo Expedition for a mission to Indonesia. Pretty much a second day after Sickline I had boarded a plane to Kota Kinabalu and after almost a week of travel I met up with the boys in a remote town of Malinau as close to heart of Borneo as we could get by the means of conventional transport. The boys just came from a mission in the jungle and with some beta Sean Zehm Stephen and me, were off to another mission in the jungle into the headhunters territory. The boys already had a Raptor at the mission so it was nice to have the boat ready and all the props to them. I Malinau, we met up with Widya, the local guide and amazing contact, who told us about a difficult stretch of river deep in the jungles of Kalimantan. We were had no clue what is coming.
Our chosen section was around 25 km long stretch of Apo Kajan river, which had never been run before. The stories we heard were talking about hard whitewater. Deep canyons and wild remote nature. There are no roads and some of the deepest jungle in the world. The only way to get there was by a boat. After long haggle about the boat prices we were off to 2 days of travel upstream and consequently over two days walking through the dense jungle. Honestly the jungle walk proved to be harder than anticipated (at least for me :) After almost 3 days of walk with fully loaded kayaks, tropical heat, muddy sketchy trail, leeches and many dangerous falls, we were still deep in the jungle, with no clear view of how much further we have to walk.
After a particularly painful fall and my sprained ankle we were to get down to the river. While we walked, the river level raised over two metres changing the river into brown fastly flowing monster. Pretty impressive after only few hours of tropical showers. Kajan became fast river with crashing waves and holes where some of the rapids had reminded me of Rio Baker in Chile. Well, the sun was shining as it does on equator so to keep the sun a away and p, was the perfect setup. Being just two of us it was very hard to run safety and take footage. But hope some of the pictures do it justice. We made it back to civilisation in next couple days of paddling There is definitely a big potential in Kalimantan part of Borneo, the trouble is almost non existent infrastructure and fluctuating water levels, but the quality of whitewater on Kajan was great..