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Published: August 23rd 2007
Time is just flying and it has again been 9 days since our last days off. For these days off there was a Sepilok arranged event, an overnight stay at Sepilok Laut
Home for the night at Sepilok Laut was the Reserves Reception Centre located in the mangrove region on the edge of Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. But firstly to get there was had a choice we could either take the easy route a car and boat ride or we could trek the 5.5km from Sepilok. Me when ever have I taken the easy route?! As I saw it, it was my chance to do the extended trek that I had wanted to do earlier in the placement but which never happened during our surveys and also probably my last chance to walk through the Sepilok Reserve before the end of the placement which is scarily close now.
So at 10am, 4 out of the 12 of us packed our day sacks and headed off into the jungle. The trail is a tourist trail so not entirely difficult but there a number of scrambles up and down hills and few dodgy logs to balance across. It was a hot and
HUGE HUGE Spider
It was very BIG and and with 8 very long legs so in taking a photo I broke my rule of not looking at anything with 8 legs or more.... Maybe the shock stopped all brain function!!!
sticky 2 ½ walk for us which probably explains why the route only usually sees about 10-15 visitors per week especially as the only way out at the other end is either an expensive boat rides or 5.5km walk back.
For us there was not too much on the wildlife sightings side probably as at present we seem to be going through a incredible heat wave and anything with any sense is taking it easy in the shade - note anything with any sense- so that excludes me! But I did manage to see the biggest version of the thing I least wanted to see - a spider
and it really was the biggest of my whole time out here. A leg span nearly twice my hand span and a huge body with a matching pair of fangs but never to miss a photo opportunity I got passed by fear to get within a few feet of it. Unfortunately I caught a trailing thread from its web which made it swing a little too close for comfort. I should mention that Jomius, our guide, had walked through its web because it covered the path - so glad it wasn’t
Mangrove Crab on Sentry Duty
Crab on that was on Sentry Duty as we finally made it to Sepilok Laut
me in the lead as they would probably have had to casivac me out with heart failure from fright but as it was I was prepared but what I was not prepared for was the sheer strength of the threads of its web and I was still trying to unstick myself and break the threads off me a 1km later!!! Invisible thread has nothing on this stuff.
When we get near the mangrove then the welcoming party on sentry duty was a crab
which did seem a bit out of place because we were still in what seemed like forest rather than mangrove at the time but he was quite impressive and worth a photo of two especially. Once again I had lugged my SLR camera with me (and maybe slightly regretted the extra wait because by this time I was starting to come down with a virus that was about to take be out for the rest of the time and the next few days).
The lodge at Sepilok Laut is quite remote and if we had realised then maybe I would have taken a reading books or board games because there was very little to do
once there other than sit and look out at the mangroves and watch the little fish swim around the trailing roots. But for chill out quality it definitely had it and I would have enjoyed it more if not running a high temperature by the end of the day, which sadly spoilt the rather lovely lunch of traditional Malaysian dishes that was prepared for us as a welcome.
Not so lovely was the opportunity to taste Durian and Jack Fruit. Durian is a grossly smelly fruit that is banned from many hotels. The smell was enough to make be retch but stupidly I tried a piece. The sickness I felt afterwards maybe couldn’t be entirely contributed to the fruit because as mentioned I was already ill but having since tried it’s less smelly and strong tasting cousin - Jack Fruit - and discovered a similar adverse reaction to the taste I can safely say neither will be a fruit that will be forming part of my fruit bowl in the near future!!!!
During the afternoon we had a brief boat excursion to a local water village
- one of Sabah’s many water villages, home on stilts over the
water. Bearing a mixture of fruit and sweets for the children we made the rather scary transfer from boat to village over a rather wobbly 5m single plank precariously balanced over the water and between the gap between boat and relative stability of wooden walkways.
We wandered around the village before returning to the start and the now occupied hammock. The Headman of the village had been informed and had made a hasty appearance to look nonchalant and every way the head of the village in his hammock. After some introductions and handshakes with the head man, all the villagers started to appear and the children came forward for their treats. The children were shy with the exception of once very small lad who very funnily had learned the V Gesture without knowing its meaning and proudly showed it off much to everyone’s amusement and laughter. No insult was intended and none taken.
Then it was time to return to the lodge with little else to do in the evening, and as the Sercarda’s commenced there 6:30pm screeches we played various games. Note clever link to this insect so I can include a photo of the first Sercarda
I have actually seen. We hear there noise in the jungle all day and this raises to a very load crescendo by the males at night and acts as a perfectly timed warn of sundown in ½ hour.
After our various games which involved everything from making various animal noises to giving Bunny Respect (don’t ask and not as bad as it all sounds!), all of which was watched over by our Police Escort. Oh failed to mention that as part of the Sabah Wildlife Foundation we are classed as VIP’s so get our own Police Escort and Protection for the evening! The police seemed to find out games highly amusing to point that mobile phones and camera were produced and our antics videoed!!!!
The night was meant to be camping in tents but not sure what happened but no tents were set up so we slept like sardines in sleeping bags in the hard floor along with our police escort and one or two slightly merry residents of the lodge. All highly amusing unless you are the one the slightly drunk guy decides to trip over.
Slightly sleep deprived we returned back to our Resthouse home,
Sleep well little sardines!!!
As you can see only the best accomodation for us!!!
thankfully by boat and car to spend the rest of the time doing a bit more chilling out but this time with the comforts of reading books and TV. Or in my case ill in bed and sleeping away the day in hopes that I would recover enough to go diving at Sipadan in a couple of days time!.
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