The cream of my latest adventures!

Cruises, Monkeys & Leech Bites

There’s no feelinglike trying to sleep while dozens of flying foxes (bats) are scavenging the Rambutan tree above the lodge for fruit, continuously dropping remains onto the very thin tin roof. It’s almost like someone constantly banging on the door and is not a good sleeping medicine.

Nevertheless we managed to get a few hours sleep last night and woke up at 530am to enjoy a lukewarm shower. We were clear that if it was pissing down outside there would be no morning cruise, and at 530am it was doing exactly that: pissing it down. Luckily it stopped only 15 minutes before departure and we headed out on the river at 630am for our first of 3 cruises of the day. Because it had just rained there was a reduced chance of seeing animals, and besides am eagle and a few hornbills the prediction came true. The cruise also included a short trek through the jungle for which we needed heavy duty wellies as well as leech socks and insect repellent to keep the leeches away.

A leech is basically a walking tentacle that survives by sucking blood from innocent bypassers. They’re about 3 cm long and have about 100 teeth in their mouth which they use to grab hold of their victim. The bottom line is that they’re not dangerous at all and the locals actually say being bitten is good for you as it sucks only the bad blood.

The trek consisted mainly of walking through a flooded forest, which is where the wellies came in handy. Only too bad one of my wellies had a hole in it and I became soaking wet… We had to buy the leech socks at 15 ringgit for the pair and hired the wellies for 10 ringgit. Despite the protection the leeches easily found their way onto Ling, who seemed to be very attractive to the leeches. It was however in the end me who got bitten in the foot with blood (only bad blood of course) pooring out – nothing an antiseptic wipe and a patch couldn’t fix though.

It wasn’t until the second cruise in the afternoon we got some monkey action. As the photos will show (will be some good ones in there) we saw 4 different monkey species including Proboscis (long nose, only found in Borneo), wild Orang utan (a mother and a kid), a whole flock of long tailed mackau monkeys (got some nice close-ups, at times I could have touched them!), and finally 2 silver leaf monkeys, one with a baby. The photos will speak for themselves when I’m back – it was an unforgettable cruise, led by our guide Dim and his trustworthy companion and boat driver.

As we didn’t get to go on a cruise yesterday due to the weather, we had one spare and we therefore got a night cruise today as well. The most amazing part of that was the clear sky where we could see billions of stars – I’ve only seen such clear sky in Scotland so it was amazing.

The night cruise consisted of cruising around in the boat looking for birds using flashLights. We saw a few variations of Kingfishers as well as some other birds. The best thing about the night cruise was that it was very chilled. I’m not sure though how good it is for the birds to be disturbed with lights while sleeping buy we’ll leave that. Discussion for another day.

We were really lucky with the weather, as it rained between the cruises but not during them. We also met a couple living in London who had a stopover for some lunch before they were on their way again. Really nice couple, a Croatian guy and a Finnish girl. Compared to our 2 weeks they have 6 weeks to explore south east Asia! We need more holiday!

Anyways, we’re waking up at 6am tomorrow with breakfast at 7am, and then we head off at 730am to catch the bus to Kinabalu Park where we’ll be staying at a mountain resort and visit Poring Springs,a hot spring… I’ll know more after we’ve been there;).

It’ 1140pm and I can hear the bats starting to drop fruits on the roof, which means it’s time for bed… Good night.


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