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Person of the Forest

Play one video each day to create a sense of adventure, so your children can 'travel' with us.
If they have any questions they can still ask us, and that allows us to make it a 'live' adventure for them.The videos were shot, edited and transmitted from an iPhone, via portable satellite, from Borneo.
Day 1 - Arriving at Mulu in Borneo (6 minutes)

The Last Chance to Paint team fly in over the rainforest in Borneo and head to Gunung Mulu National Park to start their adventures. Martha-Lilly, Robin and John walk through the rainforest listening to frogs and spotting insects as they head to the ‘Deer Cave’ to see 3 millions bats leave the cave to feed. They walk back in the dark through the forest and discover a host of intersting insect life.

Day 2 - The Penan Tribe at Batu Bungan (6 minutes)

On the team’s first morning in Mulu, they head to Batu Bungan, the village of the Penan tribe, where they perform music and run an art workshop with the Penan children. The children paint ad draw their life and village for ‘Person of the Forest’ with longhouses, the forest and butterflies featuring. Martha-Lilly Dyer performs a new piece of music specially composed for the event by Jake Thorpe. Later in the day, Robin Hanbury-Tenison meets his old friend Nyapun who he originally met in 1977 when Nyapun and his family were nomadic. The family play traditional Penan instruments including nose flutes.

Day 3 - Clear Water Cave & Penan Longhouse (7 minutes)

Today Robin Hanbury-Tension takes the team up to ‘Clear Water Cave’ which is the longest underground river in South East Asia. They call into Batu Bungan the Penan village and see a poison dart tree and also try Rambutan a tropical fruit. The team discover that the Penan people don’t know their age as being raised as nomads in the forest dates were not part of their culture. Having been forcibly settled by the Malaysian government and issued id cards they have had to randomly choose a birth date and just guess their age. The team find the bones of a pig that fell into the cave and many geological features. After a hot walk in and out of the cave, the team take a swim in the river before heading downriver to Long Iman the original Penan settlement. The journey is difficult due to the very low water levels.

Day 4 - The Bat Cave (7minutes)

Today the team walk to the ‘Deer Cave’ and their Penan guide Ismail explains the medicinal uses of many rainforest plants on the way and shows us the palm they use to start fires and a fern to wash your hair with! Ismail was raised in the rainforest as a boy but now lives in the Penan village of Batu Bungan. The 300 meter high cliffs welcome the team to the entrance of the cave. 12 species of bats live in the cave and every evening 15 tons of food is caught by the bats. The team find a skin shed by a racer snake and walk across vast amounts of bat poo!

Day 5 - Rainforest Canopy (7 minutes)

Robin takes the team up a ‘Batu’ to get a view over the rainforest but due to thunder, the make a hasty retreat. Robin leaves Mulu to head back to the UK and John paints the bat cave and the Penan village of Batu Bungun featuring Nyapun’s house. Martha-Lilly has another go on a nose flute. Later in the day John and Martha-Lilly head up a tower into the rainforest canopy to get a closer look at the trees and plants and spot a tiny rainforest squirrel. On the way back they discover a huge snail on the forest floor and answer questions from schools.

Day 6 - Heading South (3 minutes)

The team leave Mulu in Malaysia to head to Jakarta in Indonesia where they have to stay overnight before taking a flight to the Orangutan Foundation the following day. This is a short video documenting the team’s travels.

Day 7 - Travelling into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (9 minutes)

The Last Chance to Paint team is delayed by forest fires but eventually, arrive at the Orangutan Foundation in Pangkalan Bun and talk to the program director Hendra Gunawan about the work the foundation does. The Orangutan Foundation team take the team via 4×4 and then high-speed boat and longboat to Camp JL in the Lamandau wildlife reserve which is the base for the next few days. Ashes and smoke increase as the team head further into the reserve and the boat hits many logs as much illegal logging takes place.

Day 8 - Orangutan Orphans (6 minutes)

The team’s first day with the baby orangutans, Mona age 3.5 and Timtom age 3.5 and Adib age 3 who are all orphans. John paints the orangutans as they explore and feed on fruits in the trees. The team see how the young orangutans are cared for. A mother and her young baby visit camp JL from the forest and John captures the moment in paint.

Day 9 - Camp Gemini (6.5 minutes)

Macaque monkeys visit the camp and the orangutans feed in the trees. John paints a nocturn of the orangutans in their nests and Martha-Lilly has an impromptu cuddle from a baby orangutan! The forest fires increase in intensity and chared rainforest leaves keep falling from the sky. The team take the longboat to visit camp Gemini and explore the forest and the orangutans living there. Adult orangutans follow the team into the forest where they are fed bananas to supplement their diet. Dimas Yuzrifar the resident vet tells us about a recent rescue of a mother orangutan and the operation he performed to remove bullets from her body.

Day 10 - The Rainforest Burns (6.5 minutes)

Forest fires increase again filling camp JL with smoke and blocking out the sun. The atmosphere is full of smoke and the team are given masks to wear before deciding to leave the camp to take refuge in the nearby town of Pangkalan Bun. As the team head downriver the sky is full of smoke which can be seen rising over the rainforest. The rainforest is being burnt to clear it for palm oil plantations reducing even further the amount of habitat available for wildlife and orangutans.

Orangutan iPad Drawings (1.5 minutes)

A series of iPad Procreate drawings by John Dyer of the orangutans.

Person of the Forest Music (5 minutes)

'Person of the Forest' is a new piece of flute music composed by Jake Thorpe and performed for the first time to the Penan people in Borneo by flautist Martha-Lilly Dyer for the project. Orangutan, when translated, means person of the forest and the Penan people refer to themselves as the 'jungle people'. This extraordinary video shows Martha-Lilly Dyer performing 'Person of the Forest' to the children of the Penan tribe in their village of Batu Bungan, Mulu on the island of Borneo with beautiful video footage the musician shot of orangutans in the rainforest.




We travel with portable state of the art satellite systems that we keep charged with fold up solar panels and solar powered battery packs. We use one system from Immarsat for video and one from Irridium that we used for our blogs. We try to shoot short bursts of video on an iPhone during the day and then edit the footage on the iPhone in the evening before 99% compressing it (it is super expensive to use satellite), and then connect to our satellite basestation to upload the video to our streaming service. It's quite difficult to get it all working and to line the satellite base station up with a satellite in orbit, and to get enough power to keep it all running is sometimes almost impossible! The videos on this page have been replaced by the full resolution versions, but when we are 'live' you will receive highly compressed versions, but they are super exciting as they are released each day of the adventure.

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