It was a very comfortable, mostly empty 3 hour bus ride to Kinabatangan (Craig loved to repeat the name, getting it wrong almost every time. The correct pronunciation, with pauses between syllables and speeding up as you progress, is Ki-na-ba-tan-gan). We arrived in the small town on the river and loaded our things into a long metal boat while the last few threatening rain drops danced on the saturated earth around us. The effect that crossing the river had on our surroundings was surprising. The town vanished into the forest and mist, while if it wasn't for the dock sticking out into the river you would not have noticed the bungalows stacked neatly in rows along boardwalks peaking out through the trees.
We enjoyed a combination of enjoying the fresh air and beauty of our surroundings, and scanning for signs of life in the ungulating cacophony of verdant forest that hungrily nibbled at the edges of the river. And there was not any shortage of life in Kinabatangan. On the first cruise we saw three species of hornbills, three species of monkey, the aforementioned orangutan, a snake, another monitor lizard, eagles, and kingfishers. The monkeys were the highlights as the large families (except for the Silver Langour) actively jumped between branches in the tree they had designated to be their home for the night. We even saw the goofy looking, often aroused, Proboscis Monkey endemic to Borneo. We were all hoping to see it so our joy of spotting them turned to worry as we quickly continued on our way with assurances from Arshad that we would see them again and with a better view/closer.
|Somehow Diane looks heroic while...|
|Craig looks like a 3 year old|
that was allowed to dress
Falling asleep to the gentle hum of the fan, little did Craig know that the leech he had befriended that evening was but a baby compared to what awaited him in the morning...