At 05:15 on 13 April I woke up, this time I didn’t even hear the mosque! I felt tired though. The incessant humidity was taking its toll. If we could have slept a few hundred metres higher in altitude we could at least get some relief at night but in Purbalingga it was always the same temperature day and night, never wavering by more than 3 or 4 degrees.

That morning we headed off to the Klawing River. A section of river that Toto takes commercial trips down. With Toto, Puji, Agus as raft guide and myself, we headed out to ready for the clients. The air was misty and thick with humidity. Looking at the water level things were looking rather dismal. To make matters worse I had forgotten to change lenses on the camera and was not stuck with a 10-20mm wide angle, which was not ideal for a river which was destined to be quite tame and uneventful. Some focal length could have provided more photographic prospects but it was not to be.

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Put in. Java_April_2012_0614_E1 copy

Self portrait at the put in. Note the rice fields.

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River looking very low. Photo by Toto Triwindarto.

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Puji coming down a super easy part.


Myself in the orange Solo and Toto in the Nemesis. Photo by Puji.


I went for a boof off this rock. However it didn’t end as smoothly and I was forced to roll. Pity there weren’t more photos. Photo by Puji.


Myself in the lead, with Toto behind and the raft further back. Photo by Puji.


Some random spot. Photo by Puji.

The river was quite relaxed with the very low water, but there were two or three rapids which would be quite interesting at high water. At least the scenery was quite good and it was relaxing to be in the water away from the heat :-) I think the section was about 15km long. Towards the end we saw several water buffalo and I paddled towards a small one on the bank. He eyed me out suspiciously before retreating with wide eyes.

From the take out we walked back to the house which turned out to be quite close, about a 10 minute walk. Once back the sweat was flowing in full force, not only on me, but everyone else too. We idled around a bit then I went for a sleep for 1.5 hours. When I woke up I felt ill, and in a bad mood for the next 40 minutes as I recorded in my diary. I always keep a diary on overseas trips otherwise I’d never remember what happened. It’s quite amusing to read what I wrote! Late lunch was chicken, rice, chilli’s and potato. It was excellent!

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Bridge at the site where a small dam will be built…

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Toto playing the fool with a prawn he caught in the water with his hands.

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Walking out through the village back to the house.

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Chicken, rice, a lonely potato and a lot of chilli…

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Toto Triwindarto is a very rare moment of not smiling!

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The main road past our house. We went for a walk to take some photos the following day.

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Typical side street.

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I got permission to take some photos of this very old man.

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Street side shops like this are very common. You can get most things from one like this :)

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We visited a local shop where furniture is made. Beautiful work these guys do. Some harsh conditions inside!

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Random butterfly…


That afternoon we took the bikes to the shops and I exchanged 200 US$’s at the post office without them batting an eyelid. I managed to find a cool little calculator (Casio) with a solar panel and use it sometimes at work now. Also more pencil ‘leads’. Back home I sat and spoke to Toto for hours. It was very relaxing and the conversations we had I will always remember with fondness. I learnt so much about him, and the Indonesian way of life in those times, it’s the kind of things you cannot pick up on a normal trip to another country. Only if you truly immerse yourself into their way of living and manage to have a good friend like Toto that you can speak about absolutely anything from religion to politics to problems with women! :-)

That day of the Klawing was the Friday. We booked our trip to Karimun Jawa and we would be picked up Monday morning at 01:00 by taxi to begin the long journey north. Because the rivers were so low, we decided to head to these islands some 85km offshore and see what it was all about.

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Screening gravel in the most primitive form.

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Rice fields – newly planted.

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Kids playing soccer in the streets.

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A small kitten crying out amongst some rubble. My heart really went out to her. Shame :(

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This chap looked like he could deliver a solid sting!

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View down the road. Those are adverts for cell phone companies – big in Indonesia… Almost everyone has two phones. Because the cost of sms’s from one company to the next vary so much.


Later I took a ‘shower’ and whilst busy the rats in the roof erupted into a massive fight. I got a huge fright as it sounded like the roof was caving in. Crazy place!!! The next day we just had a photo session planned and I had to give a talk at a local high school… So although kayaking wise it hadn’t been a brilliant day the experience was still a good one. My apologies for being so slow with these articles. I will try and give it horns now to wrap all these articles up by the end of the year! Cheers, stay safe.

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Words by: Adrian Tregoning.
Photos by: Adrian Tregoning, unless otherwise stated.