My Dad: World Traveler – Part 3

After being in Taiwan for over a week, my Dad and his Dad took off to the Island of Borneo.  Here are a few of his notes and photos.

February 1 – Up at 5:00 AM and off to the airport.  About 3.5 hours to KK (Kota Kinabalu).  Hot and humid on exiting the plane — I wondered why people were changing on the plane.  Picked up by driver and transferred to Le Meridein Hotel in downtown KK.  Nice hotel with a great room overlooking the ocean on the 9th floor.  From the hotel room we noticed a large crowd starting to gather just in front of the hotel.  The crowd grew as the afternoon wore on.  Tons of vendors selling all kinds of food were setting up tents just in front of the hotel by the water front.  When we went to dinner we asked about it and were told it was the 7 year anniversary of KK and a big party was about to start with a parade and fire works at the end.  We walked around the vendors for about an hour took some pics and video (good stuff).  The party out front went on until about 1:00 AM and we watched fireworks for about 20 minutes and went to bed very tired.

February 2 – Wake up call at 5:00 AM.  Not good.  We had to check out at 5:45 and our driver picked us up at 6:00 to transfer to the airport for 45 minute flight to Sandakan.  We then transferred to the jetty and got on a speed boat and headed to Turtle Island.  Arrived at Turtle Island before lunch.  We had a tour guide who would stay with us for the next 3-4 days.  His name was Saat — nice guy.  There were 3 other people with us: a couple from Denmark and a woman from Australia.  Nice people.  After lunch we went to the beach for snorkeling and swimming.  Water was very warm easy to get into.  This island stop was mainly to watch the sea turtles come up and lay eggs, which happens at night.  Saw a couple of monitor lizards — pretty cool.  I need to get out with my long lens and get some close-ups.  After swimming Dad took a nap and I went out and took some pics.  Saw a monster lizard in the bush, but too late for a pic — it was at least 4 feet long.  Soon after 8:00 PM we then all went to the beach to watch a turtle lay her eggs in a hole she dug (about 80cm deep).  She laid 94 eggs and the ranger put them in bucket to put them into the hatchery.  It takes about 2 months for them to hatch.  The turtles are about 3 feet long and 3 feet wide (large).  After the laying we went to where they put them into the hatchery.  We then went to the beach where they released 75 new hatched turtles into the sea.  This goes on every night of the year.  We had 4 turtles nest and lay eggs that night and laid 287 eggs combined.

February 3 – Up at 5:45 AM for breakfast at 6:30 and on the boat at 7:00 for trip back to Sandakan.  We transferred about 1 hr by van to the orang utan sanctuary for the feeding of the mammals.  Lots of long-tailed monkeys — very playful like a bunch of kids.  We were about 15-20 feet away, so good and close.  Took way to many pics.  Then the orang utans showed up — much larger and very cool.  Very up close and personal as a few came up to about 2-3 feet away.  Too close for the long lens I had on the camera.  I think I need 2 cameras, one for each lens as changing lenses is a pain.  Might have look into that.  We then got on another boat, this time for a 2.5 hour run up the Kinabatangan River.  We saw a crocodile, a few birds, and some proboscis monkeys (these monkeys have very large noses).  After arriving at the Sukau Lodge and checking in we went on yet another boat ride, this time in search of wildlife.  We saw long-tailed monkeys, monitor lizards, very large birds, and a really nice sunset on the river.

Orang Utans Orang Utan Long-Tailed Monkey River Sunset

February 4 – Up at 5:30 AM for river trip and jungle trek.  We left the main river to a small channel which was filled with all kinds of plants floating so it seemed like we were in a car at times.  Followed the channel to an oxbow lake and landed for a jungle trek.  We trekked for about 1.5 hours — lots of leaches but we did not get any on us.  Returned to the boats for return trip to lodge and got stuck in the floating plants. — not bad though.  At 10:30 we went for a nature walk on a board walk through the jungle with a plant guide.  He pointed out the plants that will send you to the hospital or the morgue.  Nice to know.  At 4:00 we went on another river cruise in search of the pygmy elephants that were spotted the day before.  We went down river and along the way saw numerous monkeys and birds.  We also came across an orang utan and baby — pretty cool to see in the wild.  Saw two snakes in the trees overhanging the river and got right below them, but they were just sleeping and did not wake up.  Never did see the elephants and the sunset was below average.  Not like last night.  Back to the room to pack up and get ready for tomorrow.  We move to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge for the next 3 nights.  Most of the day will be traveling with a stop at some caves and cave exploring.

Bird in Flight Water Plant

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