Friday, 23 May 2014

Day 9 - Big day out .... Ah so ...




Beginning to feel like a Japanese tourist today ... It's just 12.30 and already had a boat trip back from turtle island ... now off to Sepilok wildlife preserve in Sukua
Sign for Sepilok
to see the orang-utans, some more of the indigenous flowers and orchids, a green viper snake that can kill you within 30 mins sat 30 ft away from the main orang-utan viewing areas, and a selection of Sun bears - after this, its back to the port and off via the Sulu sea to the river and the Abai Jungle Restaurant for lunch - then further up river to the Lower Kinabatangan River sanctuary and our evening river safari and over night stay.. Busy day ahead ....

A Sun bear is a "big dog sized" bear, big claws,  you could say it's
Sun Bears
the size of a big Rottie dog ... but weighs twice as much. A keen climber of trees being a true Pooh bear fan of honey, these bears are remarkable climbers ... but apparently are too lazy to climb back down ... often getting bored and just letting go and landing on the ground... 2 things struck me ...
1 no wonder they are endangered !
2 best not hang around under trees where Sun Bears are ...

Its nearly a once in a life-time experience to see the Apes, and semi-wild is going to be as good as it gets. The name Orang-utan means man of the trees, and we have heard of people trekking for 5 days through dense jungle and seeing nothing more than new nests. We don't have 5 days to trek the jungles of Sandakan .. and even if we did, you would have to question the logic of doing so, as I feel I have fed enough insects on this trip.  To see these creatures in the flesh though, is just amazing. they are beyond expectation, and are an amazing colour of dull orange .. which is actually how I thought they got their name. 









Viper Coiled in the tree
It takes me about 20 mins to see this Viper in the trees above my head ... luckily I am not doing those 5 days jungle trekking then, as I guess it would have to bite me before I spot it...  I will post a gallery of more pictures after the final blog ..




On the sea again on route to a night in Lower Kinabatangan River sanctuary and the evening river safari ... 


We are promised some wildlife (at last...) Not of course the new money Chinese tourist wild life  that we have been encountering of late !!

Worst sign - EVER
Our guide has chilled ( a little ) but is still running a school trip - the sign in the minibus says it all....
Livingston I presume ?


The river trip up towards a lodge for lunch draws a blank on wild life and very little on birds , but travelling at a fair rate of knots with a twin engined motor boat -I guess I should not be surprised ....




I am not one to moan, (well OK I am one to moan) but breakfast at turtle island was not really edible ... And I have lived my last 4 days on the exact same menu for lunch and dinner... with the 2 choices being either a prawn hot sauce and rice, with prawns in the shell, or a mild chicken curry with chicken on the bone. The only sensible option being the mild chicken curry and rice with either salad or veg. I have alternated the salad and veg to get some variety ..... but its beginning to wear on my nerves a little.  We are told that orang-utans are fed on bananas only .. as they get bored with the same food all the time and this forces them to go and forage for food in the wild .... I suspect we are being run by the same regime. 

The stop for lunch on the river, I did hope, would offer something different... Well WRONG AGAIN !!! Chicken Curry it is then ...
The main lodge where we are staying the night takes another hour of stunning scenery ..dense jungle ... And our first sighting of a monkey... OK so that's one off the list .. long tailed crab catching monkey.. check ....
Lodge
The lodge .... Its another lodge .. in another jungle .. with power
problems, no AC etc. But it has been built on a nice walkway, to raise you from the ground, it has a roof, and its own shower and toilet ... so we are at least going up in the world.  The dim lights of the evening in the eating area, offer the same buffet meals to a vast array of insect life, and the overhead fan gushes air to force the biggest ones straight down to either your head, your dinner, or your lap .. but compared to the Long House, its not even registering.
Most decent shot I could find

We are told  by our guide as we arrive, in great detail, about the light switches, the fans, the locks... but LaLaLa is working this time.. he also says that in each room is a sarong .. that we are requested to wear for dinner... he goes into some detail about the historic relevance, LaLaLa ... and finally details the patterns that are for male and females .. he suggests we wear underwear .. yeah right ... If I am going to wear a skirt.. I am going COMMANDO baby !!!! (I would have been a real life Sharon Stone if I was born female .. tart
... :) ).


Charlie the cat
Shallow River boat
Our main luggage is stored .. but at least this time, we packed a decent travelling bag of wearable items and a small amount of toiletries ... CLEAN CLOTHES ... oh yeah .. the big time...
   
The evening cruise comes along at around 5 ... cameras at the ready, we pile into a shallow boat for a slow river trip ... just after we set off, we notice we have been joined by one of the cats ... Some cats are what I call talkers and some just give an odd meow ... This chap was rehearsing for the next "Charlie says" adverts .. look it up if you are younger than 40 - or don't bother - they were not very good, and being told road safety by a creature that had 9 lives and  didn't make much sense in the end !!!! Anyway we had to turn around and drop him back to shore ... The option of using him as crocodile bate did not seem to resonate with everyone.. and that why we didn't see any crocs !!!! The crocs there can grow to about 5 ft long, are mainly fish eaters, and I am sure they have another name, but I refer to them as Nile crocs... which is just as well as there really is not much protection in these camps between the river and the living areas ... so placid are these crocs, that in Gambia, I have photos of my son sat on one ... it became less popular after they bit a tourist or two doing the same stunt, but at the business end of the croc... and my photos now are seen more like Jackson hanging his son out of a window ... but at the time holding kids out of 20 story buildings WAS trendy !!! well that's my excuse ..  
Male Probuscis
Male Macaque
We did see a reasonable array of wild life .. the normal haul of insects having snacks, and the reason for our river trip the proboscis monkey ... in the wild... along with a much better sighting of the macaque monkey (you know - the long tailed crab eating monkey ..), a python, a few king-fishers, and a Chinese Snake Bird, a Toucan relative type bird, et al...
Chinese Snake Bird
Python (not called Monty)

Forgot this chaps name (Fred I think)









The Sarong .. My Photo is banned
Back from feeding the insect life their late afternoon dinner in the river ... its time to change and get back for our 7.30 pm ... CHICKEN on the bone CURRY or wide selection of dinner alternatives (as they call it). The proboscis monkey dominant male attracts his harem by the size of his nose ... The bigger the nose - the bigger the harem.. I knew there was link :) .. no one has yet explained completely why they have a huge honker ... but it draws the females .. and that's good enough for me ...  Anyway dinner, and in our new designer sarong  .. I am asked if I was wearing anything underneath .. I proudly announce .. no.. I am sure no-one wanted the mental image really ... but they did ask ...

After a royal banquet of 100 dishes, and a quick walk around the River lodge.. a look at another wildlife CD that shows the things we have just seen .. (attractive as it has AC..) and bed .. there is not much to do in these lodges ... 


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