Jon asked me last night to write a short piece on what I want out of the expedition. There is a very short answer to this.
I want to see it. I want to see it so badly, I dream about it.
I will now have been to Indonesia five times looking for evidence of the Orang–Pendek, the Sumatran Yeti. Importantly, I have found real scientific evidence of its existence. For example, the hair I found in 2001 was identified as being from an unknown primate by the gentleman who analysed the hair in the famous Dingo baby case; while a primatologist at Cambridge reached the same conclusion over the prints. (See my book Extreme expeditions: Travel Adventures Stalking The World’s Mystery Animals for more details). Any evidence I do/will find will always be open to independent scientific scrutiny. Otherwise it counts for nothing.
I have spent thousands of pounds of my own money looking for the Orang-Pendek . I have interviewed reams of witnesses, and travelled hundreds of miles through jungle. I have been sucked by too many leeches to count and on one memorable occasion realised I had bacillary dysentery, whilst I was on top of a mountain….
Lake Tuju, where we are going on the second part of the expedition, is an exceptionally beautiful place. It is a volcano crater shrouded by primal jungle. As you approach the camp by canoe, gibbons warn others of your approach. Beyond that; bears, golden cats, and tigers really do roam only a few yards into that forest. In the diversity of its life, there is nowhere like it on earth.
I know the Orang-Pendek exists. I have travelled with several others in search of it, and I can say that the team we have - Dally and Sahar (Indonesia) and myself Chris Richard and Dave - are a strong, dedicated team. For the first half of the expedition, we will be staying with the Kubu, and I hope to learn about their oral traditions and legends, as well as utilising their services in the quest.
The Palm Oil plantations are upon us. The work we are doing is for good, so wish us luck!
Let me see it….