After our little detour to the Anambas and Natuna Islands, we finished crossing the South China Sea and arrived in Borneo. For me, Borneo has always been synonymous with travel and adventure, and steamy jungles full of fascinating animals and poison-dart-wielding headhunters! I think this stemmed from my dad working on the oil rigs when I was little. He would fly in from one of his stints on the rigs with travel stickers all over his suitcase and interesting stories. And now it was my turn to explore!
We made landfall at a little peninsula on the western end of Sarawak, then made our way (via some turtle islands) into the Santubong River to explore Kuching, and from there we made passage to Miri. In all, we have spent three weeks exploring Sarawak, and already clocked up some pretty amazing experiences. Here’s a quick photo journal:
Our first awesome wildlife encounter was hanging out with the turtles of Talang-Satang National Park (NP). It started when we happened across a floating turtle that we thought was in distress. As we approached, we realised it was actually a pair of turtles in a passionate embrace! Later, we witnessed momma turtles digging nests, and helped the rangers relocate the eggs to a safe hatchery. It was topped off by releasing turtle hatchlings back into the ocean!
Then we spent a few days exploring Kuching, capital of Sarawak. The town had a lovely vibe. And I had my first taste of delicious Sarawak laksa.
Timing is everything in travel, and we happened to be in Kuching for a Dayak parade being held to celebrate the harvest. Hundreds upon hundreds of Dayak people in traditional dress marched in the parade. It was an awesome sight, and a chance to meet some Bornean headhunters (well their descendants at least).
Our next wildlife encounter was with the semi-wild orangutans of Semmengoh sanctuary. We met rival males Richie (former alpha) and Edwin (current alpha) and mum and Bub Annelise and Mas.
Our next mission was to climb Mt Santubong, the monolith towering over our river anchorage. Andy and Craig (SV Berserker) made it to the top, while Pam and I for opted to only go to the first lookout point, then take the “leisurely” path to a waterfall.
BBQ brekky with a view.
We broke up the passage to Miri with a stop at Pulau Lakei, a small island on the fringe of Bako NP. It turned into one of the highlights of the trip. We met the resident rangers, Lido and Colin, absolute legends who showed us around P. Lakei, then invited us over to the main NP island for a quick tour to see proboscis monkeys, bearded pigs, and a deadly pit viper!
Then we continued the long passage to Miri. Nearly 300 nautical miles dodging oil rigs and tugs towing giant barges. But we got to sail for good stretch, so that was a bonus.
We arrived in Miri early in the morning, and set about eating our way through the place. Another town with a great vibe, and an awesome array of restaurants. BBQ pork yummmmmmmm.
We did two different missions to caves. In Kuching we checked out the fairy cave and wind cave, and in Miri we visited the Niah caves. They were all impressive by their sheer size, and presence of bats and lots of other creepy crawlies.
Anyway, our Borneo adventures continue. We arrived yesterday into Brunei, country number seven for the trip!