12.11.2008 36 °C
Turtles, monkeys, apes, fish of all different shapes and sizes and a bush pig that has a beard. All these things can be found crawling and scurrying about Malaysia and we managed to see a great deal of them.
Our first encounter with the very famous Orangutans was at a rehab center (to rehabilitate them back into the wild not off booze and drugs). You get to have a good look at the "wild men of the forest" during their twice daily feedings.
Unfortunately you and about 200 other people try to share the same view from a platform a few meters away from the feeding site. Some people got so excited at the prospect they would start shouting and elbowing people. The Orangs didn't seem to mind the noise or the crowds so it was well worth it. The Orangs are semi wild. It's up to them if they want this free feed and sometimes they won't show up at all, normally if the jungle trees are fruiting and all the money these crowds bring in helps these ginger jungle nomads to get back to the jungle. We were also extremely fortunate to see some wild Orangutans while on a river boat trip with some Christian twitchers in Sukau.
We saw amazing aquatic wildlife diving off Sipidan island on the east coast of Sabah. It was the most spectacular diving we've done and definitely worth the reputation as one of the top five diving sites in the world. We swam with white fin sharks, hundreds of hawksbill and green sea turtles, huge shoals of baracuda and jack fish to name but a few. You have to get a permit over 2 months in advance to allow you to dive there. As obviously very few people are that organised, the dive companies give you the name of someone who booked 2 months ago for you to be when signing into the island. So the island rangers don't cotton on, you have to memorise your name and Nationality before arriving. Dan was French and me a Sweed called Joan. In another 2 months, I wonder who'll be us?
We visited another National Park in Sarawak called Bako, where the wildlife literally comes to you. There's a resident crew of bearded pigs around where you stay; a pit viper in a bush next to our sleeping hut that didn't move at all the time we were there; a troupe of silver leaf langurs came sweeping through the park, with the mums clutching their bright orange babies; and best of all, we saw lots of proboscis monkeys, which are extremely rare and only found in Borneo. Some came really close to the boarded walk round the mangroves and the male gave us a good look at his huge bulbous nose - very sexy to the lady proboscis! You can smell where the proboscis are long before you see them - must be all those digestive juices produced to help digest the inedible leaves they feed on.
We did some walking round the park which has loads of pitcher plants everywhere. We hiked to a nearby beach in the midday sun and enjoyed colling down in the green waters. We also decided to get up at 5am and hike quite a steep trail to another beach for sunrise. Well worth it, as a monitor lizard and then a troupe of Macaques came down to the beach to join us.
By far the most significant thing that happened to us Borneo, was becoming and auntie to Molly Emma. We splashed out on the only beer we've had in Malaysia to toast her entrance into the world!