For the long weekend at the end of May we decided to head to central Java to climb Gunung Merbabu and to take in the sights of Solo. We flew into Semarang on Thursday night and took a taxi directly to the hill village of Kopeng, where we met our trip organiser Pak Totok. It was straight to bed as we arrived late and we were aiming for a 5 am start the next morning. We dragged ourselves out of bed at 4.30 am and forced some fried rice down our necks before setting off for the trailhead in an angkot with our two porters. By 5.45 we were already on the trail. After about 15 minutes the porters stopped for breakfast; we knew then it wouldn’t be a record breaking climb in terms of speed. Andy and I hiked on ahead and waited at several points for the porters to catch up, including a 1.5 hour break with a nap at lunchtime! We learned our lesson on Tambora – don’t get too far ahead of the porters, especially if it looks like rain, as they might decide to stop for the day without bringing your tent to where you are waiting! The forest was pretty along the way, not too dense and as we got higher it turned into grassland with sparse trees. We got some good views of Gunung Sumbing and Gunung Sindoro to the west.
[simage=627,200,n,left,]Over the Lebraran (Idul Fitri) holidays Andy and I spent 10 days in North Sulawesi. The first 4 days were spent in Bunaken National Park, which is a marine park just off the coast of Manado. Our aim was to learn to dive and get our Padi Open Water certifications; I have dived before but … [Read more…]
[simage=951,200,n,left,]After my fieldwork in Seram and Sulawesi, I stayed on in Makassar to meet our friend Ruth from the UK. Ruth spent the summer working in SE Sulawesi as part of the Operation Wallacea project, where she was studying civets. It seemed like just the thing we’d all need after time in the forest was … [Read more…]
This summer I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in the field, in Seram, Maluku province, and also in Central and South Sulawesi. Joining me were Sita and Wihermanto, my colleagues from Kebun Raya Bogor where our research project on biogeography of Eucalyptus deglupta is based. We set out from Bogor in early August … [Read more…]